The Mystery of Hogzilla Solved

ByABC News via logo
March 21, 2005, 7:44 AM

March 21, 2005 — -- The mystery of the beast known as "Hogzilla" was born in the swamps and woods of Georgia just last summer.

Chris Griffin, a hunting guide, was out in the woods one day when he says he couldn't believe his eyes -- an animal resembling a hog that was 12 feet long and weighed over 1,000 pounds.

"All sorts of thoughts were running through my head, and I was thinking, 'I'm gonna take a shot at this animal,'" Griffin said.

With the help of a backhoe, he hoisted the enormous beast up for the perfect trophy shot of the animal soon dubbed "Hogzilla."

Griffin buried the beast shortly after the photo was taken, but when the picture hit the Internet, a legend was born.

People around the world questioned whether Hogzilla was real or a trick of computer photography. Others debated whether Hogzilla was an enormous wild boar or a farm-raised hoax.

That's when National Geographic stepped in.

"We decided to do a real "CSI"-style investigation for Explorer," said Nancy Donnelly, a National Geographic producer. "We brought in a pig geneticist, a wildlife ecologist and a pig behavior specialist."

Now, after extensive research, there is a verdict.

National Geographic says Hogzilla is very real, though not as big as they thought. But the 800-pound male had something strange in his DNA.

"One of the most amazing things that we found out about Hogzilla was he had wild boar in his ancestry and we were only able to figure this out through our DNA testing," said Donnelly.

But more questions remain -- where did this giant hybrid come from?

And to residents of Alapaha, Ga., there is one thing perhaps more important: Could the son or daughter of Hogzilla still be out there?