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This photo of an elk teaching her baby how to stick out its tongue for the camera is too pure for this world

A good nature shot is worth more than 1,000 words.
Credit: Dave Masters

EVERGREEN, Colo. — OK, maybe it’s worth prefacing this story with the fact it’s impossible to say exactly what the elk featured in the photo and in the headline are actually doing.

After all, they’re elk: They do not speak English, so we can’t ask them what’s going through their minds, and unfortunately, journalism school did not teach me how to speak elk.

But, in human terms, it certainly appears that the mama elk is showing her baby the joy of sticking out one’s tongue for the camera.

Photographer Dave Masters sent the photo to 9NEWS and it’s absolutely delightful (If you want to submit your own photos, send it to yourtake@9news.com – and you can see from this story, we actually do look at all of them).

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He said it was taken in Evergreen, a place in Colorado where you're guaranteed to get a good view of some elk. 

Credit: Dave Masters

Here’s a Zoomed-in shot of the baby, because it’s adorable:

Credit: Dave Masters

And here’s mama being derpy for the camera:

Credit: Dave Masters

Now, when it comes to sticking your tongue out, a 2015 article in Psychology Today reports that “Depending on context—and placement—tongue protrusion can imply almost anything.”

For instance, while in the U.S. it’s usually a sign of being lighthearted or perhaps rebellious (see famous tongue-sticking out photos of Miley Cyrus or Albert Einstein), the Maori People of New Zealand have “historically used this gesture as part of a war chant preceding battle.”

“Contrived to intimidate the enemy, it signifies strength and ferocity,” Psychology Today goes on to add.

Of course, the photo this whole article is about deals with elk, so we can never know their motivations...and perhaps we’re overthinking what is actually a very cute and well-timed nature photo.

Again: You can submit your cute and well-timed nature photos to yourtake@9news.com.

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