Mark Zuckerberg would like you to know he is not a shape-shifting lizard person bent on world domination.
The billionaire technologist hosted his first Q&A townhall using Facebook’s live video streaming program, to field questions from the giant social media network he built. Jerry Seinfeld blew in for a brief cameo and talked about breakfast foods. Amid queries about Facebook’s artificial intelligence and Zuckerberg’s entrepreneurship, someone wanted to know if the 32-year-old was actually a reptilian being disguised as a human.
“Mark, are the allegations true that you’re secretly a lizard?” Zuckerberg read aloud. “I’m gonna have to go with ‘No’ on that.”
He added: “I am not a lizard.” The Facebook founder paused to lick his lips.
Zuckerberg called it a “very silly” question and moved on to less silly things, like techno-telepathic thought sharing. It may be a frivolous thing when a celebrity is asked to publicly deny a secret slithery lineage, but the scenario is not without precedent. In 2011, for instance, Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly refuse to acknowledge comedian Louis C.K. on a radio show, as C.K. pestered the former defense secretary about being a “flesh-eating” lizard alien. Three years later, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key was forced to tackle the scenario head-on after an Auckland citizen filed an official Information Act request.
“To the best of my knowledge, no. Having been asked that question directly, I’ve taken the unusual step of not only seeing a doctor but a vet, and both have confirmed I’m not a reptile,” Key said, according to New Zealand’s Newshub. “So I’m certainly not a reptile. I’ve never been in a spaceship, never been in outer space, and my tongue’s not overly long either.”
Before it became a waggish pastime to ask prominent figures if they were lizard people in human skin, humanoid reptilians remained firmly in the domain of science fiction and fantasy. Kull the Conqueror fought serpent-headed men in a 1929 short story by American author Robert E. Howard (of Conan the Barbarian fame). Snarling reptilian humanoids had bit parts in “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” “Doctor Who” and other sci-fi staples. In 1983 when shape-shifting, reptilian aliens got their first big break in US network TV it was via Earthly invasion in the NBC miniseries “V.”