In 1643, workers unearthed some huge bones in a Belgian field. The naturalists who studied them were convinced they had come from a humanlike giant. Their length, after all, tallied with a biblical reference to Og, a giant king supposedly slain by Moses.
Alas, centuries later the developing science of palaeontology discovered that the purported Giant was an elephant. And later still, it turned out to be an extinct mastodon. The Washington Post story links to an article by Taika Helola Dahlbom (“A Mammoth History: The Extraordinary Journey of Two Thighbones”, Trends in Cell Biology 31.3 (2007): 110-114):
In 1643, two respected gentlemen observed some workers unearth a skeleton from a field outside Bruges in Flanders. One of the gentlement, Dr. Sperling, the court physician to King Frederick III of Denmark, recorded the length of the skeleton as nine Brabantian cubits (more than 4 m). With the bible as their point of reference as was common for seventeenth-century naturalists, this confirmed to the men that the skeleton had belonged to a giant…. [M]ore than 50 years later… the King’s collection… contained three specimens believed to have come from giants – two complete sets of teeth and another hip-bone. Whilst this other hip-bone was, according to the 1737 catalogue, ‘more than three feet long’ and ‘presumably of a large giant’, there was greater certainty over the provenance of the more recent acquisition. ‘A still larger hip-bone 3.5 feet long, weighing 25 lb, belonging to a large Giant’. This confidence stemmed from the account of its excavation by Dr. Sperling’s son, the reputable polymath Otto Sperling the younger (1634-1715)…. Since the extraordinary length of the skeleton relayed by Sperling the younger exactly matched the length of the giant King Og’s coffin described in deuteronomy 3:11, there was little doubt that the Bruges hip-bone had indeed belonged to a giant.