This just in: Greta Thunberg is not a time traveller

Story by CBC Kids News • 2019-11-21 15:33

Vintage photo sparks wild theories online

Look closely at this 121-year-old photo of three kids mining gold in Yukon and what do you see?

Tweet from Cool History shows black and white photo of kids in nature surrounded by tools with caption: Three children operating rocker at a gold mine on Dominion Creek, Yukon Territory, ca. 1898

Wait a second, is that Greta Thunberg?

We hate to break it to you, but “that is not Greta Thunberg,” said James Stack, a reference librarian at the University of Washington, where the photo came from.

Stack said they have the negative and the original print in their collection, which is named after the photographer who took the image back in 1898, Eric A. Hegg.

The resemblance is all just a strange coincidence.

But that didn’t stop the time traveller theories from picking up steam on Twitter!

Tweet from Jack J.S. Strange compares old photo to modern photo of Greta with caption So, Greta Thunberg is in a photo from 120 years ago, and it's my new favourite conspiracy. Greta's a time traveller, from the future, and she's here to save us.

Tweet from Ahmed Raafat Thought Bubble says Greta Thunberg loses hope in changing current world's mind about climate change, decides to travel back in time to when it all started.

Tweet from tipbobfinn says She is a time traveller, followed by an LOL emoji.

Stack — who said he answered the phone all morning on Thursday, fielding questions about the Greta look-alike — isn’t the only one who’s skeptical of the time traveller theory.

Some said if Greta was truly a time traveller, she wouldn’t bother going out of her way to find green modes of transportation in 2019.

The 16-year-old climate activist has made a point of travelling across the world in a sustainable way.

She’s currently hitching a ride from the U.S. to the UN Climate Change Conference in Spain on a sailboat operated by a couple of Australian YouTubers.

Tweet from Chauncey Beardworth says I'm betting that if Greta Thunberg could time travel, she wouldn't be sailing across the Atlantic in November.

Others said the time traveller theory simply didn’t go far enough.

Tweet from Hannes Fostie says This stuff on Greta being a time traveller is ridiculous, there's no such thing as time travel. Quite obviously she's just immortal.

Some of the real keeners wanted to discuss the environmental impact of time travel technology.

Tweet from Varun Das says It is safe to say that Greta must have used a solar-powered time machine to time travel.

Tweet from Alex Rabinowitz says This is assuming time travel is carbon neutral.

Apparently, this isn’t the first time a celebrity has discovered a doppelgӓnger from the past.

Doppelgӓnger is a German word for look-alike.

Tweet from Sideshow Bob shows image of JayZ and old black and white photo of JayZ lookalike. Caption says Greta isn't the first prominent figure to have a doppelganger from centuries past.

CBC Kids News reached out to Greta to see what she thought of the doppelgӓnger theory.

We haven’t heard back yet.

But Fridays For Future International, the group that helps organize school strikes worldwide, did respond.

The girl in the old picture “really looks like Greta,” said the authors of the email, Bengt and Lena, but there are “so many people all over the world” who have look-alikes.

Why shouldn't Greta have “one or several” look-alikes, too?

That said, Bengt and Lena wrote that Greta and the Fridays for Future volunteers believe it is important to listen to science.

“As far as we know there is no scientific evidence for the existence of so-called time travellers,” they said.

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