Fact check: Image shows art exhibition in Thailand, not giant skeleton

The claim: A skeleton found in 2017 belongs to a giant who battled a serpent

A far-reaching hoax on social media makes a big claim about the existence of giants. But evidence shows there’s little to the story.

In September, USA TODAY debunked a false claim that thousands of giant skeletons were found but destroyed by the Smithsonian and the Vatican. The National Geographic Society had battled the hoax since 2004.

A more recent version of the hoax says another giant skeleton has been found — this time in Thailand.

“The skeleton of this giant was discovered in November 2017 in a cave in Krabi, Thailand,” says a June 13 Facebook post, which includes an image of a person posing with skeletons. “This was just made public a few months ago. The skeleton appeared to have been battling a large horned serpent upon death.”

The post had more than 1,600 interactions before it was deleted. The claim also circulated in varioustweets. 

Fact check: Online post showing giant human skeletons is an old hoax

But the image doesn’t show the skeleton of a giant. In fact, it shows an art installation in Thailand.

USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the post for comment.

Skeletons part of art exhibition 

The giant skeleton was part of a Taiwanese artist’s exhibition at the inaugural Thailand Biennale, an international exhibition of contemporary art, according to the Taiwan Ministry of Culture.

The work, “Giant Ruins,” is from artist Tu Wei-cheng. It “explores the boundaries between the realms of real and fictional to rethink history,” according to the Ministry of Culture.

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Taiwan Today reported that Tu was inspired by a folktale from Krabi, a region in southern Thailand, about two foes fighting over a princess. 

The exhibition was on display from Nov. 2, 2018, through Sept. 28, 2019, according to the Ministry of Culture.

Our rating: False

The claim that a skeleton found in 2017 belongs to a giant who battled a serpent is FALSE, based on our research. The skeleton featured in the picture is from an installation by a Taiwanese artist. It was one of two works chosen for the inaugural Thailand Biennale, which ran from 2018 to 2019.

Our fact-checking courses:

  • Facebook post, June 13
  • USA TODAY, Sept. 8, 2020, Fact check: Online post showing giant human skeletons is an old hoax
  • Ministry of Culture, Nov. 16, 2018, Taiwan artists selected for Thailand’s inaugural biennale
  • Tina Keng Gallery, accessed June 17, KRABI GIANT RUINS, 2018
  • Ministry of Culture, Jan. 20, 2017, Tu Wei-cheng
  • Taiwan Today, Nov. 6, 2018, Taiwan artworks take center stage at Thailand Biennale in Krabi

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