You would think that after the cream cheese-less bagel debacle, the outrage surrounding a four-legged octopus, and scientists face-palming at left-handed DNA, Apple would pay closer attention to the accuracy of its emojis.
In a series of sassy tweets posted Wednesday morning, the Monterey Bay Aquarium pointed out a disturbing anatomical inaccuracy in Apple’s rendition of the squid emoji. Just to make the matter absolutely clear, the aquarium included an annotated picture of an actual squid, too.
The tweets were accompanied by text art of a skeptical squid basking on some emoji waves.
“Wasn’t sure they’d / try to spin this one / for ocean awareness / but here we are: / apple’s squid emoji / is upside down,” writes the aquarium. “Not even squidding / the siphon should / be behind the head / rn it just looks like / a weirdo nose.”
The siphon, or funnel, is a muscular structure that helps a squid breathe and discharge waste or ink. While squid eyes are set on the sides of their head (not ideal for the emoji aesthetic), the aquarium points out that the siphon should be behind the head. The cephalopod takes in water into its mantle (body) cavity, then expels both water and waste out to propel backward as a form of locomotion called jet propulsion. To control speed or direction, squid can point their siphon in different directions, take in different quantities of water, and control the force used to push the water out. It’s a technique that allows the fast squid to travel at a speedy eight meters per second.
Squids also have small fins for slower maneuvers, according to Stanford’s Gilly Lab. Thankfully, that’s an element that all platforms got correct.
It’s unclear whether Apple will correct the current state of the squid, which was first adopted as an emoji in 2016. It wouldn’t be the first water-dwelling creature tech companies would correct; in February 2018, Emojipedia finally brought the leg count of the lobster emoji up to its correct number: 10.
For now, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s squid is basking in Twitter fame.
“Your love is inkredible / i’m just a humble / precariously-formatted / meme-being / advancing anatomical / accuracy ily,” wrote the squid.
Taking Emojis Into Your Own Hands
If you’re inspired to submit an emoji of your own, get ready to submit a detailed proposal to the Unicode Consortium, whose subcommittee on emoji meets twice a week to discuss emoji-oriented matters. To make sure you don’t submit an already-requested emoji, Unicode published the entire submission list online.
If the Unicode Technical Committee accepts your proposal first as a provisional candidate, and then as a final candidate, your idea could one day be available on phones everywhere.
Fingers crossed the vendors get the designs right — the first time.