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Creation 37(3):56, July 2015

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A giant hoax

giant-hoax

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There are several pictures making the rounds on the Internet claiming to be of excavations of giant human skeletons. Many have wondered whether they could be corroboration of the giants mentioned in Scripture. However, some thinking about these pictures and a little research shows that these pictures are ‘Photoshopped’.

The pictures are fake

In every instance, we can find the original provenance of the ‘giant skeleton’ photo to see the original image. And upon close examination, it is usually obvious that the photo is faked. In some places, the odd way the shadows fall makes it clear that the light source on the skeleton is from a different angle than the light source illuminating the background, meaning that the images were cobbled together.

One of the most famous pictures of a giant human skeleton was created in 2002 as an entry for a Photoshop contest, and it is the picture that we get asked about most often.1 Interestingly, if you look closely at that particular picture, the man is holding a shovel handle with no shovel.

Humans can only get so big

Humans as large as the faked photographs portray are physio­logically impossible. This is because of the ‘square-cube law’. For example, if a human were scaled up 10 times, his surface area and cross-section would be 100 (10²) times larger—so his bones and muscles would also be 100 times stronger. However, his volume would be 1,000 (10³) times larger—and so will his mass and weight. So his muscles and bones would be far too weak to support his weight. A giant would need radical modifications to the entire body plan, making the bones much thicker, altering the circulatory system to allow for the greatly increased amount of blood flow required, and so on. The giant ‘human’ would not even be the same species as an average-sized human. The square-cube law has many other implications for the minimum and maximum size of body plans.2

What about biblical giants?

There are a few biblical mentions of individuals who were very large. Goliath is probably the best known (1 Samuel 17). His height was recorded at 6 cubits and a span (2.97 m, 9′9″), or 4 cubits and a span (2.06 m, 6′9″) according to the Septuagint.3 Even the smaller height would be gigantic to a people with average male adult height of 152 cm (5′). Either way, there are recorded modern examples of people almost 9 feet tall, so it is well within what we know to be biologically possible.4 These giants are fully human at the taller side of the range of human height.5

References and notes

  1. To see this picture and other entries in the contest, see worth1000.com/contests/447/archaeological-anomalies-2. Return to text.
  2. See J.B.S. Haldane’s famous essay, On being the right size, Harper’s Magazine, March 1926; irl.cs.ucla.edu/papers/right-size.html. Return to text.
  3. The Septuagint is a 2nd and 3rd century BC Greek translation of the Old Testament. Return to text.
  4. See Catchpoole, D., Whether tall or small—people, all! Creation 30(3):56, June 2008; creation.com/whether-tall-or-small-people-all. Return to text.
  5. The Nephilim are outside the scope of this article; see Who were the ‘sons of God’ in Genesis 6?; creation.com/sons-of-god. Return to text.

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