FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show The ‘Most Detailed Model Of A Human Cell To Date’?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows the “most detailed model of a human cell to date.”

Verdict: False

The image shows an illustration of an animal cell. The artist created it using a digital art application.

Fact Check:

The post claiming the image shows the “most detailed model of a human cell to date, obtained using X-ray, NMR [Nuclear Magnetic Resonance], and cryo-electron microscopy data sets” has been shared over 16,000 times. Similar claims about the image previously went viral earlier this year.

Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact discovered the image is actually an illustration of an animal cell. The illustration, titled “Animal Cell” and created by artist Russell Kightley, can be found on Scientific.Pictures and other websites.

Kightley also addressed the digital art piece on his website in a July 24 blog post, where he detailed how he created it. (RELATED: Does The WHO No Longer Recommend Isolation, Quarantine Or Social Distancing For COVID-19?)  

“The image was created twenty years ago for an educational poster for BioCam. It took six weeks of full-time work to create using Painter (Fractal Design’s Painter as it was, now it’s managed by Corel),” Kightley wrote. “Since then, it’s appeared in lots of places, including Richard Dawkins’s book, The Greatest Show on Earth (plates 12-13 c).”

He said in the blog post that he “wanted it to look like an opened jewelry box, for the glint and sense of wonder at the inner workings,” and that it “was designed as a basic biology teaching tool.”

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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