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Giant human skulls in Mexico? No, photoshopped image entered in design competition

Photography is a powerful medium of communication, but digital image manipulation tools mean it’s now also a way of spreading false information.

An image posted on a Facebook group page with over 270,000 members shows two massive skulls and some bones that appear to be newly dug out of the ground. Six people are seen at the site, seemingly amazed.

“Giant human skeleton discovered in Mexico,” reads the caption.

The post found its way to Facebook in South Africa, where a user flagged it as possibly false.



Photo manipulated for design contest


A reverse image search reveals that the image was one of the entries in a photo manipulation contest on DesignCrowd.

For the contest, PS Bonus Contest: Archaeological Anomalies 12, designers were asked to create an archaeological hoax that looked real.

It received 34 Photoshop submissions from 31 contestants. The giant skulls image is credited to a designer with the screen handle YearoftheDragon.

It also appears on a DesignCrowd blog post titled Giant Skeletons Seem Too Real To Be A Hoax.

Africa Check has debunked a similar image, also sourced from DesignCrowd, that a Facebook user claimed was of the skeleton of a mermaid. – Dancan Bwire

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Further Reading

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