Caution: an image of a Martian rock circulating around the internet claims that it's proof the Red Planet was once ruled by a civilization.

Nope, we didn't find any proof that there was indeed an early civilization on Mars — at least not yet. The image in question depicts an unusual rock formation on the surface of the planet that, according to one YouTube video, is apparently the head of a female statue, similar to the warrior woman statues in Egypt.

In the video description, Joe White, ArtAlienTV - MARS ZOO YouTube channel, writes:

"I found what seems to be a small feminine looking statue head on Mars in Gale Crater in this recent Curiosity Rover image from NASA. Only a few inches in size or less."

The problem is it isn't. Yes, it looks somewhat like a head, but that's because of a mind trick called pareidolia, according to Science Alert.

What You Need To Know About Pareidolia

White goes on to claim that the rock formation is indelible proof that an ancient civilization once ruled Mars. As of this time, the video has nearly 30,000 views. His channel, meanwhile, has more than 23,000 subscribers. White claims to have "studied over 1 million Mars images so far and have arguably the clearest collection of Martian city buildings, skulls, statues and alien artifacts on the internet."

This isn't the first time for anyone to claim that Mars is filled with evidence of an ancient civilization, but all such claims have always been linked to, as mentioned, pareidolia. This is a psychological phenomenon in which the human brain tries to make sense of things it sees, especially abstract ones. It tries to look for patterns and other visual stimuli that it's familiar with. As such, we often see faces even when there aren't any. Looking at clouds and making sense of their abstract shapes is one example.

Rock Formations That Look Like Faces And Objects

One doesn't even have to go far to look for faces in rock formations. Earth has them too. There are plenty of random rock formations and other types of geography on this planet that look like faces, such as the Apache Head in the Rocks located in Ebihens, France, or this dinosaur-shaped lake in Zagreb, Croatia.

Ancient civilization or not, Mars remains a fascinating and perplexing planet to examine, and hopefully, once Earth successfully completes manned missions to the planet, we'll know more about our neighboring rock. Mars is likely the next candidate for life, and space agencies are working hard to figure out whether we can terraform the planet to accommodate the demands of human biology and physics. Elon Musk has such a plan.

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