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Archaeoraptor was a fake (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Archaeoraptor was a fake (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CC352:

Archaeoraptor was touted by scientists as the dinosaur-bird transition (Sloan 1999), but it was revealed as a fake, a composite of an avian body and a non-avian dinosaur's tail.

Source:

  • Austin, S. A., 2000. Archaeoraptor: Feathered dinosaur from National Geographic doesn't fly. Impact 321 (Mar).


CreationWiki response:

While Talk.Origins is correct that the Archaeoraptor hoax was the product of a Chinese fossil hunter and not a scientific fraud, it is clear that they do miss the point.

  1. The hoax was discovered as a result of the discovery of the other half of the slab, which showed that the hoaxers had to do sufficient manipulation of the original fossil in creating 'Archaeoraptor' that the hoaxers had to know that they were creating a fake.
  2. Archaeoraptor shows that these fossil hunters are not aways honest. In fact it exposed the existence of an entire fake fossil industry in China that continues to operate today.
  3. All of the other recent so-called feathered dinosaurs were found in China, and access to them is highly restricted. No one skeptical of the dinosaur-to-bird theory has been allowed to examine them, which is not uncommon in paleontology.
  4. Some if not most of the recent so-called feathered dinosaur fossils were obtained through fossil hunters and not found by paleontologists, and should therefore be suspected as hoaxes until proved otherwise.

The real point of Archaeoraptor is that it casts a shadow over any fossils found in China. We know that there is a fake fossil industry in China and that Chinese paleontologists often find fossils at fossil hunter stores rather than in the ground. As a result any fossil from China should be in question unless proved not to be a fossil hunter fake.

One should take note that this isn't the first time National Geographic has endorse fraud. In 1971, they endorsed the Tasaday tribe hoax. Reportedly, a tribe in the Philippines was a relic of the stone age and were draw backs from a time before civilized cultures. Supposedly, they never communicated with the modern world. The entire thing was realize to be a fraud when a Swiss man discover that the "stone age" people were mere natives in costumes.

Marshall, Eliot. 1989. Anthropologists Debate Tasaday Hoax Evidence. Science 246:1113-1114.

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