Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
Illustration for article titled Decimal points matter

Look at that hole in a fairly recent (2000 year old?) human skull.

How many centimeters in size do you think it is?

There’s a scale bar right next to the hole, and that scale is in millimeters, and it looks like it’s more than 1 centimeter (or 10 millimeters) and less than 2 centimeters (or 20 millimeters).


If you guessed 1.7 centimeters, or 17 millimeters, you are correct, because that’s what the Ministry of Antiquities, located in Cairo, said was the measurement on their Facebook page.

In Arabic

 قطر يبلغ حوالي 1.7سم

But when they translated their statement into English, they accidentally translated 1.7 cm as 17 cm.

a rounded cavity of 17 cm wide

Some websites which used the right measurement

Science Alert


Ancient Origins

Some websites which used the wrong measurement


Ahram Online (cited by above Gizmodo article)

Egypt Today (cited by above Gizmodo article)

Daily News Egypt

Some websites which didn’t give either measurement








Consolation prize

If you’re worried that that particular Gizmodo author wrote a good article because he used the right measurement, don’t be worried. Somehow he introduced different errors into his article, including referring to one of the individuals as the wrong age and saying the assigned-as-female skeleton was the individual was the one with the 17 millimeter hole in the skull. Oh well!

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