Skeleton of Ghatotkach? No, it’s a gigantic sculpture by an Italian artist

A photograph of a giant skeleton was shared on social media with the claim that the skeleton of Ghatotkach, the son of Bheem in Mahabharata, was excavated in Kurukshetra. The accompanying caption of the image read, “कुरुक्षेत्र में खुदाई के दौरान विदेशी रक्षा विशेषज्ञ को मिला भीम पुत्र घटोत्कच का कंकाल जिसकी लम्बाई 80 फिट है (During an excavation in Kurukshetra, foreign defence expert found the skeleton of Bheem’s son Ghatotkach, the height of which is 80 ft – translated)”

A Twitter user quote-tweeted the post asking Alt News to check the veracity of the claim.

The claim has been circulated on Facebook as well.

कुरुक्षेत्र के पास खुदाई करते समय विदेशी पुरातत्वविदो को 80 फुट लंबा मानव कंकाल मिला जिसे भीम के पुत्र घटोत्कच का होने का दावा किया जा रहा है।

Posted by Saurabh Tripathi on Thursday, 20 June 2019

It has been floating on social media since at least 2015.

An Italian artwork

Alt News did a Google reverse image search of the photo and found multiple instances wherein this picture was used to make varied claims. The two most prominent ones being – “skeleton of Ghatotkach” and “skeleton of Goliath“.

The skeleton in the picture is a 28-metre long sculpture, Calamita Cosmica, made by an Italian artist Gino de Dominicis. A website called My Modern Met wrote an article, The Giant Travelling Skeleton, on the sculpture in 2012. According to the travelling website Atlas Obscura, “Created by Gino De Dominicis, this giant skeleton sculpture was displayed in Milan’s Palazzo Reale in 2007. Named “Calamita Cosmica,” or “Cosmic Magnet,” the sculpture is 28 meters long and weighs about eight tons, or 16,000 pounds. The artist completed this work shortly before his death.” Dominicis died in 1998.

Atlas Obscura updated its article in 2018 to inform that the sculpture has been relocated to “Chiesa della Santissima Trinità in Annunziata in Foligno, in the Umbria region”. 

American fact-checking website Snopes had earlier fact-checked the image when it was circulated in 2018 as the skeleton of the biblical giant Goliath. According to Snopes, the image of the sculpture was shot by a Flikr user Mauro in 2007.

The skeleton’s long, pointy nose is a feature that can be seen in much of De Dominicis’ work, according to Atlas Obscura. 

To find the truth behind the other pictures circulated along with Calamita Cosmica, Alt News performed multiple Google reverse image searches and found that they were all digital artwork posted on a website called Design Crowd and credited to different artists.

The photo of the gigantic skeleton circulating on social media, claiming that it is Ghatotkach’s skeleton found during an excavation in Kurukshetra, is actually the sculpture Calamita Cosmica made by Italian artist Gino de Dominicis in 1998.

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