"Archaeoraptor" is the generic name informally assigned in 1999 to a fossil from China in an article published in National Geographic magazine. The magazine claimed that the fossil was a "missing link" between birds and terrestrial theropod dinosaurs. Even prior to this publication there had been severe doubts about the fossil's authenticity. It led to a scandal when it was definitely proven to be a forgery through further scientific study. The forgery was constructed from rearranged pieces of real fossils from different species. Zhou et al. found that the head and upper body actually belong to a specimen of the primitive fossil bird Yanornis. A 2002 study found that the tail belongs to a small winged dromaeosaur, Microraptor, named in 2000. The legs and feet belong to an as yet unknown animal.
The "Archaeoraptor" scandal has ongoing ramifications. The scandal brought attention to illegal fossil deals conducted in China. It also highlighted the need for close scientific scrutiny of purported "missing links" published in journals which are not peer-reviewed."
"Archaeoraptor" was unveiled at a press conference held by National Geographic magazine in October of 1999. At the same press conference also plans were announced to return the fossil to Chinese authorities, as it was illegally exported. In November of 1999 National Geographic featured the fossil in an article written by art editor Christopher Sloan. The article in general discussed feathered dinosaurs and the origin of birds. It claimed the fossil was "a missing link between terrestrial dinosaurs and birds that could actually fly" and informally reffered to it as "Archaeoraptor liaoningensis", announcing it would later be formally named as such."
National Geographic magazine
"Feathers for T. rex?
By Christopher P. Sloan
Photographs by O. Louis Mazzatenta"
"Spectacular fossil finds from China and Mongolia provide important new links between birds and their dinosaur predecessors.
"According to National Geographic's report, the story of "Archaeoraptor" begins in July 1997 in Xiasanjiazi, China, where farmers routinely dug in the shale pits with picks and sold fossils to dealers for a few dollars. This was an illegal practice, but it was common then. In this case one farmer found a rare fossil of a toothed bird, complete with feather impressions. The fossil broke into pieces during collection. Nearby, in the same pit, he found pieces including a feathered tail and legs. He cemented several of these pieces together in a manner that he believed was correct. He apparently knew that it would make a more complete-looking and, thus, more expensive fossil. It was sold in June 1998 to an anonymous dealer and smuggled to the United States. According to authorities in Beijing, no fossils may leave China legally.
By the fall 1998 annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, held in Utah, rumors were circulating about a striking fossil of a primitive bird that was in private hands. This fossil was presented by an anonymous dealer at a gem show in Tucson, Arizona. The Dinosaur Museum in Blanding, Utah, purchased it in February of 1999. The museum is run by Stephen A. Czerkas and his wife, Sylvia Czerkas. Mr. Czerkas does not hold a university degree, but he is a dinosaur enthusiast and artist. He arranged for patrons of his museum, including trustee Dale Slade, to provide $80,000 for the purchase of the fossil, in order to study it scientifically and prevent it from disappearing into an anonymous private collection.
The Czerkases contacted paleontologist Phil Currie, who contacted the National Geographic Society. Currie agreed to study the fossil on condition that it was eventually returned to China. The National Geographic Society intended to get the fossil formally published in the peer-reviewed science journal Nature, and then follow up immediately with a press conference and an issue of National Geographic. Editor Bill Allen asked that all members of the project keep the fossil secret, so that the magazine would have a scoop on the story.
Slade and the Czerkases intended the fossil to be the "crown jewel" of the Dinosaur Museum and planned to keep it on display there for five years. Sloan says that he flew to Utah in the spring of 1999 to convince Stephen Czerkas to return the fossil to China immediately after publication, or he would not write about it for National Geographic and Currie would not work on it. Czerkas then agreed. Currie then contacted the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, and National Geographic flew the IVPP's Xu Xing to Utah to be part of the "Archaeoraptor" team.
During the initial examination of the fossil on March 6, 1999 it had already become clear to Currie that the left and right feet mirrored each other perfectly and that the fossil had been completed by using both slab and counterslab. He also noticed no connection could be seen between the tail and the body. In July 1999, Currie and the Czerkases brought the fossil to the High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility of the University of Texas (Austin) founded and operated by Dr. Timothy Rowe to make CT scans. Rowe, having made the scans on July 29, determined that they indicated that the bottom fragments, showing the tail and the lower legs, were not part of the larger fossil. He informed the Czerkases on August 2 that there was a chance of the whole being a fraud. During a subsequent discussion Rowe and Currie were pressured by the Czerkases to keep their reservations private.
Currie in the first week of September sent his preparator, Kevin Aulenback, to the Dinosaur Museum in Blanding to prepare the fossil for better study. Aulenback concluded that the fossil was "a composite specimen of at least 3 specimens...with a maximum...of five...separate specimens", but the Czerkases angrily denied this and Aulenbeck only reported this to Currie.."
"National Geographic went ahead and published without peer review.. The fossil was unveiled in a press conference on October 15, 1999, and the November 1999 National Geographic Magazine contained an article by Christopher P. Sloan—a National Geographic art editor. Sloan described it as a missing link that helped elucidate the connection between dinosaurs and birds. The original fossil was put on display at the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC..."
"After the November National Geographic came out, Storrs L. Olson, curator of birds in the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution...[protested] the "prevailing dogma that birds evolved from dinosaurs"."
"In October, 1999, after having been informed by Currie of the problems and seeing the specimen for the first time, Xu noticed that the tail of "Archaeoraptor" strongly resembled an unnamed maniraptoran dinosaur that he was studying—later to be named Microraptor zhaoianus. He returned to China and traveled to Liaoning Province where he inspected the fossil site and contacted a number of fossil dealers. He eventually found a fairly complete fossil of a tiny dromaeosaur, and the tail of this new fossil corresponded so exactly to the tail on the "Archaeoraptor" fossil that it had to be the counterslab— it even had two matching yellow oxide stains. On December 20, 1999 Xu Xing sent e-mails to the authors and Sloan, announcing that the fossil was a fake."
"In 2002 the Czerkases published a volume through their Dinosaur Museum titled Feathered Dinosaurs and the Origin of Flight. In this journal they described and named several species. Of the six species named in the book, five are disputed.
Despite the work of Zhou et al. (2002), Czerkas and co-author Xu Xing described the upper portion of the "Archaeoraptor" fossil as a new bird genus, Archaeovolans, in the Dinosaur Museum Journal. "
"Another taxon that Czerkas assigned to the pterosauria and named Utahdactylus was reviewed by Dr. Chris Bennett. Bennett found multiple misidentifications of bones and inconsistencies between Czerkas' diagrams and the actual fossils. Bennett found the specimen to be an indeterminate diapsid and criticized the previous authors for publishing a species name when no diagnostic characters below the class level could be verified. He made Utahdactylus a nomen dubium."
"The "Archaeoraptor" scandal has ramifications that are ongoing. In 2001 Stephen and Sylvia Czerkas compiled a traveling exhibit containing 34 other Chinese fossils. The show is titled Feathered Dinosaurs and the Origin of Flight. The San Diego Natural History Museum paid a set fee to the Dinosaur Museum to display this show in 2004."
"Through March 2009, however, the show is scheduled for the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art and Science in California."
"The "Piltdown Man" is a famous hoax consisting of fragments of a skull and jawbone collected in 1912 from a gravel pit at Piltdown, a village near Uckfield, East Sussex, in England. The fragments were thought by many experts of the day to be the fossilised remains of a hitherto unknown form of early human."
"The significance of the specimen remained the subject of controversy until it was exposed in 1953 as a forgery, consisting of the lower jawbone of an orangutan combined with the skull of a fully developed, modern man.
The Piltdown hoax is perhaps the most famous archaeological hoax in history. It has been prominent for two reasons: the attention paid to the issue of human evolution, and the length of time (more than 40 years) that elapsed from its discovery to its full exposure as a forgery."
"The fossil was sufficiently influential for Clarence Darrow to introduce it as evidence in defense of Scopes during the Scopes Monkey Trial. Darrow died in 1938, more than ten years before Piltdown Man was exposed as a fraud. Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard met less fortunate timing, listing Piltdown Man as one of the ancestors of humanity in his book Scientology: A History of Man, and describing him as having "enormous" teeth and being "quite careless as to whom and what he bit." Piltdown Man would be exposed as a hoax just months after the publication of Hubbard's book."
"Java Man is the name given to fossils discovered in 1891 at Trinil on the banks of the Bengawan Solo River in East Java, Indonesia, one of the first known specimens of Homo erectus. Its discoverer, Eugène Dubois, gave it the scientific name Pithecanthropus erectus, a name derived from Greek and Latin roots meaning upright ape-man."
"Dubois' find was not a complete specimen, but consisted of a skullcap, a femur, and a few teeth. There is some dissent as to whether all these bones represent the same species."
"NEBRASKA MAN: A single tooth, discovered in Nebraska in 1922 grew an entire evolutionary link between man and monkey, until another identical tooth was found which was protruding from the jawbone of a wild pig."
"ORCE MAN: Found in the southern Spanish town of Orce in 1982, and hailed as the oldest fossilized human remains ever found in Europe. One year later officials admitted the skull fragment was not human but probably came from a 4 month old donkey. Scientists had said the skull belonged to a 17 year old man who lived 900,000 to 1.6 million years ago, and even had very detail drawings done to represent what he would have looked like. (source: "Skull fragment may not be human", Knoxville News-Sentinel, 1983)
NEANDERTHAL: Still synonymous with brutishness, the first Neanderthal remains were found in France in 1908. Considered to be ignorant, ape-like, stooped and knuckle-dragging, much of the evidence now suggests that Neanderthal was just as human as us, and his stooped appearance was because of arthritis and rickets. Neanderthals are now recognized as skilled hunters, believers in an after-life, and even skilled surgeons, as seen in one skeleton whose withered right arm had been amputated above the elbow. (source: "Upgrading Neanderthal Man", Time Magazine, May 17, 1971, Vol. 97, No. 20)"
THE PEPPERED MOTH: NATURAL SELECTION'S MOST FAMOUS EXAMPLE
"The "evolution" of the peppered moth, Biston betularia, whose story is recounted in almost every textbook on evolution, now appears to be based upon spurious data. According to the standard account, only one version of Biston existed before the mid-19th century: a white variety, peppered with black spots. During the Industrial Revolution its numbers plummeted because it became easy prey for birds as it rested on the pollution-blackened trunks of trees. In its place a mutant, pitch-black form of the peppered moth began to thrive, as it could rest on tree trunks without fear of being eaten. Precisely as predicted by Darwin's theory of natural selection, this more fit mutant moth rapidly outnumbered the white version, reaching 100 per cent levels in some industrial areas. However, during the 1950's, naturalists discovered a resurgence of the white variety, thought to be the result of the Clean Air Acts. Scientists soon discovered that the white variety flourished again well before the return of pollution-free trees, while the black type continued to thrive in areas unaffected by industry. In addition, experiments showed that neither variety of moth chooses resting places best suited to its camouflage. Despite 40 years of effort, scientists have seen only two moths ever resting on tree trunks - they never have landed consistently on tree trunks, but hide under branches! It looks like the evolution textbooks will have to be rewritten. Evolutionist Richard Dawkins dismissed the new data, saying that, "nothing momentous hangs on these experiments."
Matthews, R. 1999. Scientists pick holes in Darwin moth theory. Telegraph Group Limited March 14, 1999."
"Ramapithecus was widely recognized as a direct ancestor of humans. It is now established that he was merely an extinct type of orangutan."
"Australopithecus afarensis, or "Lucy," has been considered a missing link for years. However, studies of the inner ear, skulls and bones have shown that she was merely a pygmy chimpanzee that walked a bit more upright than some other apes. She was not on her way to becoming human.
Homo erectus has been found throughout the world. He is smaller than the average human of today, with a proportionately smaller head and brain cavity. However, the brain size is within the range of people today and studies of the middle ear have shown that he was just like current Homo sapiens. Remains are found throughout the world in the same proximity to remains of ordinary humans, suggesting coexistence. Australopithecus africanus and Peking man were presented as ape-men missing links for years, but are now both considered Homo erectus.
Homo habilis is now generally considered to be comprised of pieces of various other types of creatures, such as Australopithecus and Homo erectus, and is not generally viewed as a valid classification."
"In July 2002, anthropologists announced the discovery of a skull in Chad with "an unusual mixture of primitive and humanlike features." The find was dubbed "Toumai" (the name give to children in Chad born close to the dry season) and was immediately hailed as "the earliest member of the human family found so far." By October 2002, a number of scientists went on record to criticize the premature claim -- declaring that the discovery is merely the fossil of an ape."
"In any case, no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favor of evolution as opposed to special creation." (Mark Ridley, in New Scientist, volume 90, “Who Doubts Evolution?”)
"While many inferences about evolution are derived from living organisms, we must look to the fossil record for the ultimate documentation of large-scale change. In the absence of a fossil record, the credibility of evolutionists would be severely weakened. We might wonder whether the doctrine of evolution would qualify as anything more than an outrageous hypothesis." (Steven Stanley, Macroevolution: Pattern and Process)
"I know that at least in paleoanthropology, data are still so sparse that theory heavily influences interpretations. Theories have, in the past, clearly reflected our current ideologies instead of the actual data." (David Pilbeam, in Human Nature, “Rearranging Our Family Tree”)
"Since 1859 one of the most vexing properties of the fossil record has been its obvious imperfection...The inability of the fossil record to produce the “missing links” has been taken as solid evidence for disbelieving the theory." (A.J. Boucot, Elsevier Scientific Publishing, Evolution and Extinction Rate Controls)
"Modern apes, for instance, seem to have sprung out of nowhere. They have no yesterday, no fossil record. And the true origin of modern humans--of upright, naked, tool-making, big-brained beings--is, if we are to be honest with ourselves, an equally mysterious matter." (Lyall Watson, in “The Water People”)
"I can understand the inherent difficulty in attempting to discover intermediate forms. My problem concerns the methodology of science: If an evolutionist accepts gaps as a prerequisite for his theory, is he not arguing from a lack of evidence? If a biologist teaches that between two existing fossils there was a non-existing third (and perhaps several others), is he not really like the man of religious faith who says: “I believe, even though there is not evidence?” (In Bioscience, volume 28, “Biologists, Help!”)
"It takes a great deal of reading to find out for any particular genus just how complete the various parts of the body are and how much in the illustrated figures is due to clever reconstruction. The early papers were always careful to indicate by dotted lines or lack of shading the precise limits of the reconstructions, but later authors are not so careful." (Implications of Evolution, Pergamon Press)
"Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryx into an earth-bound, feathered dinosaur. But it’s not. It is a bird, a perching bird. And no amount of ‘paleobabble’ is going to change that." (Alan Feduccia, ornithologist of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as cited in Science, Virginia Morell, Archaeopteryx: “Early Bird Catches a Can of Worms“)
"Archaeopteryx probably cannot tell us much about the early origins of feathers and flight in true protobirds, because Archaeopteryx was, in the modern sense, a bird." (Alan Feduccia, in Science, volume 259, “Evidence from Claw Geometry Indicating Arboreal Habits of Archaeopteryx”)
"National Geographic has reached an all-time low for engaging in sensationalistic, unsubstantiated, tabloid journalism...it eventually became clear to me that National Geographic was not interested in anything other than the prevailing dogma that birds evolved from dinosaurs...The idea of feathered dinosaurs and the theropod origin of birds is being actively promulgated by a cadre of zealous scientists acting in concert with certain editors of Nature and National Geographic who themselves have become outspoken and highly biased proselytizers of the faith. Truth and careful scientific weighing of evidence have been among the first casualties in their program, which is now fast becoming one of the grander scientific hoaxes of our age--the paleontological equivalent of cold fusion." (Written in a November 1, 1999 open letter by evolutionist Storrs Olson, Curator of Birds at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution)
Israeli scientist Lee Spetner and British astronomer Fred Hoyle studied Archaeopteryx and set forth good evidence that the fossil was just another fraud. As stated by (G. Vines, in New Scientist, volume 105, “Strange Case of Archaeopteryx Fraud”):
"His [Spetner] suspicions were aroused when he read that the two specimens with the clearest feathers-the London and Berlin fossils-came from the collection of a Bavarian doctor, Dr. Karl Haberlein. Spetner and his colleagues argue that Haberlein gouged out an area around two genuine fossils of a dinosaur-like reptile, and made a matrix with cement which he applied to the fossils. Then, Spetner claims, he pressed chicken feathers or the like to the mixture to create the feather impressions.[Photos taken by Robert Watkins, of the physics department at Cardiff]...show signs of a forger’s work: a fine-grained substrate under the feathers, blobs that look like chewing gum that could be the remnants of the forgers cement...The fossil is split into two halves: an imprint of the creature is reflected in a ‘counter slab’ created when the rock containing the fossil was split open, like two halves of a mould. Hoyle and his colleagues find elevated or depressed regions on one slab that are not perfectly mirrored on the other. Finally, they point to ‘double-strike’ impressions of feathers. In a few places the same feather has apparently left two impressions slightly displaced to one side."
(For a much more in-depth treatment On The Alleged Dinosaurian Ancestry Of Birds, see: http://www.trueorigins.org/birdevo.htm )
Also see: Evolution of Whales: Pure Fantasy