Image of giant skeleton in a cave is an artwork created by Taiwanese sculptor

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Facebook posts claiming to show the skeleton of a giant killed by a serpent in Thailand have resurfaced online in Kenya and Nigeria. The claim is false: the image does not show a real skeleton but rather a sculpture created by a Taiwanese artist who was inspired by a folktale.

A Kenyan Facebook page called Nairobi News Kenya shared the image on June 13, 2021, of what appeared to be the remains of a large human being inside a cave.

“The skeleton of a giant has been discovered at Krabi, Thailand,” reads the caption in the post. “The giant seems to have been battling with a horned serpent upon its death.”

A screenshot of the false Facebook post, taken on July 6, 2021

A day later, the same claim was shared in Nigeria, purporting that the discovery of the giant’s skeleton in “November 2017” had just been announced publicly.

Another screenshot of a similar false Facebook post, taken on July 6, 2021

 

Similar claims also circulated recently on Facebook pages in Ethiopia and Pakistan, and last year in Mexico.

The claims, however, are false.

Skeleton not real

A reverse image search showed that the claim is not new and appeared in articles from February 2019 (see here and here).

Search results further revealed this article published on November 6, 2018, in Taiwan Today, the digital version of the Taiwan Journal. The publication shared similar pictures to those seen in the recent Facebook posts but identified the bones as a “plastic skeleton” created by Taiwanese artist Tu Wei-Cheng.

According to the report, the artistic installation by Tu would be displayed at Thailand’s inaugural art exhibition, Thailand Biennale, which took place in the southern province of Krabi from November 2, 2018, to February 28, 2019.

Tu’s participation in the event was announced by the Taiwanese Ministry of Culture here. “Tu explores the boundaries between the realms of real and fictional to rethink history,” the culture ministry wrote.

Tu shared his progress with the skeleton on his Facebook page, publishing images in the cave with his team on three occasions in November 2018 (here, here and here).

He also posted a video on January 17, 2019, documenting his work inside the cave for the Biennale.

In the recording, Tu said his inspiration for the artwork was sparked by a myth about “the ruins of a giant and a giant boa in battle”.

“There is a myth about this cave, about the duel between a giant and a huge boa in which eventually they both died and became a big and a small mountain in Krabi,” he said.

Tu added that the image of the giant, which is 6.5 metres tall, was inspired by the Hindu deity Asura and the serpent, 12 metres long, by the deity Naga.

Following his participation in the Thailand Biennale, Tu made a similar installation in September 2019 in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan.

AFP Fact check has debunked similar posts claiming to show the skeleton of the giant Goliath discovered in Jerusalem.