According to the Guardian newspaper, UN staff are puzzled at the methodology used by The Times to calculate the high casualty figure it had previously announced.
In a baffling assessment made by photographs taken on a helicopter, The Times of London claims that 20,000 Tamils had been killed at the hands of the Sri Lankan Army in the final days of the conflict.
UN staff admitted they were puzzled by the methodology used to achieve the new death toll.
"Someone has made an imaginative leap and that is at odds with what we have been saying before," one official said. "It is a very dangerous thing to do to start making extrapolations."
U.N. under-secretary-general John Holmes has also disputed the claims made by The Times. "That figure has no status as far as we're concerned," Holmes said.
Photographs taken by the Reuters cameraman on board the same guided tour that The Times photographer was on -over the 'No Fire Zone'- shows no signs of mass graves.
Photos of those locations taken by a Reuters reporter traveling with the delegation showed no clear signs of mass graves, though some individual gravesites might be visible.