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Identifying Wood refers to the cover photograph of the book with the same name in which a middle-aged man is shown examining the texture of a wooden panel with a microscope. A prime example of an exploitable stock photograph, the image has spawned a series of photoshopped parodies featuring an individual carefully studying a commonplace and easily identifiable object and a caption based on the snowclone “yep, it’s (X).”
The original image was featured on the cover of the reference book Identifying Wood: Accurate Results with Simple Tools, written by R. Bruce Hoadley and published in 1990. The earliest known variation of the meme was created by adding the caption “Yep, it’s wood.” to the image, thereby highlighting the humor behind writing an entire book dedicated to identifying something so commonplace.
On May 22nd, 2007, a thread was posted on the community website FARK requesting photoshops of the book cover. The thread, receiving 36 replies prior to being archived, produced several notable examples of the meme (shown below).
In 2008 and beyond, the original image continued to make appearances on various internet humor sites and forums, including FunnyJunk, eBaumsworld and Actual Funny Pictures, and by 2011, the image had reached Reddit and Tumblr.
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