FACT CHECK: No, This Image Does Not Show The Colosseum Carved Into A Real Tooth

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

An image shared on Facebook over 600 times allegedly shows a real tooth with a replica of the Colosseum carved into it.



Verdict: False

The image is a piece of digital artwork created using CGI for a toothpaste advertisement.

Fact Check:

The Colosseum, a popular tourist attraction in Italy, is a massive Roman amphitheater that was capable of holding some 50,000 spectators for gladiator fights and other events, according to National Geographic. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site spanning Rome’s historic center, which includes the Pantheon and other ancient Roman landmarks.

Hundreds of social media users have been sharing an image of what looks like a tooth that features an intricate design resembling the Colosseum. The caption identifies it as the “Roman Colosseum carved into a real tooth.” (RELATED: Meme Allegedly Shows An Italian Interpreter Reacting To Trump Saying The US And Italy ‘Have Been Allies Since Ancient Rome’)

But, contrary to this claim, the image does not show an actual tooth with a replica of the famous Roman landmark carved into it. The same image can be found on the website of the Thailand-based CGI studio Illusion, where the studio indicates it is a piece of CGI artwork created as part of an advertising campaign for Maxam, a Shanghai-based company that produces toothpaste.

Illusion also posted the piece on its Instagram account in 2019, including hashtags in the caption such as “#cgi,” “#digitalart” and “#illustration.”

Illusion told Check Your Fact in an email that it is “done in full CGI and no real tooth was involved.” A similar work that Illusion created for the campaign features an Egyptian temple’s facade virtually carved into a digital tooth. The designs won awards in 2012 and 2013,  Illusion’s website notes.

Subterranean portions of the Colosseum called the “hypogea” opened to tourism for the first time ever earlier this year, CNN reported. The areas had been refurbished as part of a larger renewal project that kicked off in 2011, according to the outlet.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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