The Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum website has changed since last January. Some of the links in my original post no longer work, and they've added a new section to address questions about the 47" femur. Taylor writes:
"It is true that I sculpted a femur 47-1/2 (120 cm) based on a report in a newsletter where it was reported on by the construction engineer who found it and other skeletons the same height."
This is the first I can recall hearing about a "newsletter." On the page that reproduces the alleged letter, Taylor says
"Mr. Jack Wagner sent me the following article in 1996 and asked me to sculpt a human femur the size of the one found in the Middle East."
Then he presents the same text (beginning "Dear Christian Friends") that I posted previously.
I don't know who Jack Wagner is. And, as far as I can tell, neither Taylor nor anyone else has ever provided the original source for the story. You've got to think if the story comes from a "newsletter" or an "article" that the publication should have a name and date so that we could track it down and perhaps learn something else about the original source. Maybe the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum website could provide us with that information.
The story of the 47" femur is interesting not because there is any truth to it, but because it persists on the internet despite being recognized as bunk over and over again (e.g., see here, here, here). Taylor is onto something when he he says (in this interview) that the story has power because the sculpture helps people “see the truth.” The reason the 47" femur story has legs is that the simple image of an incredibly large femur is unambiguous and easy to understand. It's a recognizable bone. And it's big. Not just kinda big, but really big.
The 47" femur sculpture helps people to make real something they desperately want to be real. In that circumstance the backstory of the sculpture (or the fact that it is just a sculpture) probably doesn't matter much, and pointing out holes and inconsistencies in the backstory won't matter much either. Taylor is correct in pointing out that museums use reproductions all the time. But those reproductions are usually based on an actual original that cannot be displayed for a variety of reasons. When you've got to imagineer your evidence from a textual description of uncertain origin, that should tell you something about the strength of your case.
At least the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum felt compelled to address questions about the femur sculpture. That means people are asking questions about it. That's a good thing.
Maybe the specification of a "newsletter" as the source of the tale is a small point given all the other inconsistencies in the story, but I would still be interested to see the publication.