for National Geographic News
The National Geographic Society has not discovered ancient giant humans, despite rampant reports and pictures.
The hoax began with a doctored photo and later found a receptive online audience—thanks perhaps to the image's unintended religious connotations.
A digitally altered photograph created in 2002 shows a reclining giant surrounded by a wooden platform—with a shovel-wielding archaeologist thrown in for scale.
By 2004 the "discovery" was being blogged and emailed all over the world—"Giant Skeleton Unearthed!"—and it's been enjoying a revival in 2007.
The photo fakery might be obvious to most people. But the tall tale refuses to lie down even five years later, if a continuing flow of emails to National Geographic News are any indication. (The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.)
The messages come from around the globe—Portugal, India, El Salvador, Malaysia, Africa, the Dominican Republic, Greece, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya. But they all ask the same question: Is it true?
Perpetuating the Myth
Helping to fuel the story's recent resurgence are a smattering of media outlets that have reported the find as fact.
An often cited March 2007 article in India's Hindu Voice monthly, for example, claimed that a National Geographic Society team, in collaboration with the Indian Army, had dug up a giant human skeleton in India.
"Recent exploration activity in the northern region of India uncovered a skeletal remains of a human of phenomenal size," the report read.
The story went on to say the discovery was made by a "National Geographic Team (India Division) with support from the Indian Army since the area comes under jurisdiction of the Army."
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