'True missing link' fossil false?

Geoff Read gread at ACTRIX.GEN.NZ
Mon Feb 28 22:55:51 CST 2000

I see that belief in the  'Archaeoraptor liaoningensis' fossil, feathery
missing link star of Nat Geog's November issue, but  of dubious
provenance because it was apparently smuggled out of China to be sold,
has crumbled as evidence mounts it is a composite of a bird & a
dromaeosaur. Oops!



Barbara Moffet        +1 202 857 7756          bmoffet at ngs.org

 For Immediate Release

"WASHINGTON—Based on the best scientific information available at press
time, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC reported on the Archaeoraptor fossil in the
November issue of the magazine.

"Only after the magazine had been published did NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
learn about the possibility that the fossil might be a composite. If it is a
composite, it initially escaped detection by a team of scientists that included
top experts on bird origins.

"We immediately began an investigation into the matter and took the earliest
possible opportunity to publish a disclosure of the new information in
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazine (March 2000). We were obviously
disappointed to hear that Archaeoraptor might be a composite and are
committed to getting to the bottom of the mystery of this fossil. The magazine
will report the findings to its readers.

"NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC is currently in negotiations with scientists in
China and the U.S. to get the fossils together for an independent review. This
is the only way to determine conclusively if Archaeoraptor is a composite.

"We also funded the original CT scanning work on the fossil and hope to see
the published analysis in a peer-reviewed journal soon.

"Regardless of Archaeoraptor, most paleontologists have been convinced for
some time that birds emerged from dinosaurs. This is based on a wealth of
evidence unrelated to any of the current fossils from China."

   Geoff Read <gread at actrix.gen.nz>

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