No, this is not what the Earth would look like without water

As gifs go, the one of a potato-shaped Earth purporting to be what the planet would look like without water is pretty cool.

The clip has been shared widely in the last few days, but as is so often the case with Stuff You Read On The Internet, it turns out it's not real.

Phil Plait, a science writer at Slate, has pointed out that the gif is actually of Earth's geoid. The model, created by Ales Bezdek, is a handy way of showing that the Earth's gravitational field is pretty lumpy because it's stronger in some places than others.

Which is, of course, still pretty cool.

If you're interested, the video below shows what the Earth would look like with no water. The depths are not to scale to show the topography of the ocean bed more clearly, but it's worth watching for the music alone.

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