Emojis are a fabulous shorthand, but they’re not without their flaws.
This week, the Monterey Bay Aquarium tweeted that Apple’s squid emoji had been anatomically incorrect for the past two years.
Apple’s squid emoji features what looks like a single paccheri noodle in between the squid’s eyes. It’s supposed to be a siphon, through which squids and other cephalopods push water to propel themselves forward. (It’s also used to excrete waste.)
There’s just one problem: On real squids, the siphon is on the back.
“It would be like having a butt on your forehead,” Sarah McAnulty, a graduate student studying squid biology at the University of Connecticut, told Gizmodo.
As Gizmodo’s Catie Keck points out, the squid emoji was made by Apple designers, and therefore only shows this anatomical error on Apple devices. The other nine emoji representations of squid on other platforms don’t depict a siphon at all.
Apple’s squid emoji is by far the most detailed of all the squid emojis, carefully including color gradients by the fins near the squid’s mantel, and suction cups on its tentacles. It’s particularly impressive compared to the plain, unimaginative squid emoji on Twitter, which is a mere four colors total with little feature definition.
Who among us hasn’t made a mistake as a result of trying to be ambitious?
McAnulty told Gizmodo that she had noticed the mistake when the squid emoji came out in 2016, but was just happy to have it included in the library. Emojis are, after all, an easy way to add a little color and personality to textual communication.
Quartz has reached out to Apple and will update this piece when we get a response.
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