Did Google run over a donkey in Botswana? That’s certainly what its Google Street View cameras seem to suggest. As Shrek would have said, “Donkeh!”
Twitter user @TheRealSheldonC, an account capitalizing on the success of “The Big Bang Theory”, tweeted a picture yesterday of a donkey presumed dead on the road in Botswana. The Google Maps image shows a puff of dust flying up from the injured donkey, suggesting that the camera must have captured the donkey as it fell rather than just lying on the road.
When you zoom past the donkey, you see it standing uninjured by the road.
Google sent News.com.au internal Street View images but did not give permission for publication. In the photos, the company alleged that the Google Street View car approached the donkey as it was taking a nap, and then the donkey gets up and continues walking uninjured, according to FOX News.
The problem with this version of events is that the images claim the donkey is walking backwards. Donkeys don’t walk backwards, at least not very far.
The image seen from the front featured the donkey lying down, in between two prominent tire marks. The second image shows the donkey getting up. In the third image, the donkey is standing off and to the left, meters behind where it fell. The fourth image shows the donkey even further back on the left. Google claims the photos show the events in the order they occurred.
I think google street view ran over a donkey in Botswana;maps.gstatic.com/m/streetview/?…
— Dr. Sheldon Cooper(@TheRealSheldonC) January 14, 2013
According to the marks in the dirt, the order of events looks impossible. Roger Short, adjunct professor of zoology at Melbourne University said:
“Can you walk normally going backwards? You might jog but you wouldn’t run fast. Donkeys are not adapted to it. They can take a few steps but they would never normally walk backwards.”
If you go back you can see it ready to walk out. — Dr. Sheldon Cooper(@TheRealSheldonC) January 14, 2013
According to The Sun, the Google spokesperson claims:
“Our Street View teams take the safety of people and donkeys very seriously. A review of our imagery confirms that we did not cause any harm to the donkey.” Well, let’s hope the donkey survived the fiasco and is grazing in the very best fields Botswana has to offer, and possibly having a braying laugh at its own clever prank.