Could your favorite ancient animal species not be real? Via the Archaeology News Network:
Fake fossils are duping scientists and museums, a senior paleontologist has warned, after a scholar was forced to retract a controversial essay that stated the cheetah originated in China.
According to Li Chun, associate researcher at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, counterfeits are now widespread and have become a serious risk to genuine study projects. “I believe many scholars are victims of fake fossils,” he said, before estimating that more than 80 percent of marine reptile specimens on display in Chinese museums “have been altered or artificially combined to varying degrees”.
Li’s alert follows the debunking last month of an essay co-authored by Huang Ji, a Chinese scientist, and Danish researcher Per Christiansen in 2008 about an alleged new species of cheetah.
“Probably to make it appear more complete, thus enhancing its commercial value, Chinese fossil dealers makes numerous fake fossils. I had seen hundreds of ‘complete’ fossils actually glued by bone fragments, some fragments belonging to different animals,” he said.