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Who Said That?

"This is marketing, this is what we do."

-- David Downing, deputy director of the Pinellas tourism agency

It was the perfect April Fool's Day prank for the age of the hashtag.

Visit St. Pete-Clearwater, the agency that markets the Pinellas beaches to the world, sent out a press release Tuesday at 6 a.m. claiming that "officials have confirmed the sighting of a rare marine mammal off the coast of St. Pete/Clearwater last week."

The creature was a "combination dolphin/manatee." Scientists had believed the "manaphin" to be "long-extinct." Long-extinct perhaps, but not unprepared. The mammal already had its own website: www.manaphin.com.

Some folks actually fell for it. An Orlando shock jock. A reporter from Chicago.

Tourism officials were playing more than a just a prank.

Read more at the Tampa Bay Times.