|Modified Piltdown Gang by John Cooke (1915) with image from openclipart|
Scientists still don’t know how the Archaeoraptor specimen was smuggled out of China and ended up in the United States. We do know that in 1998 Stephen Czerkas, curator of the Dinosaur Museum in Utah, purchased it for the tidy sum of $80,000. Czerkas labored with Xu Xing of China’s prestigious Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology and Phillip Currie to study the specimen. The National Geographic Society sponsored the project.To read the entire article in context, click on "Major Evolutionary Blunders: The Imaginary Archaeoraptor". For additional in-depth information, click on these two: "The Frauds Of Evolution #11: Frauds Of A Feather –“Feathered” Dinosaurs, Homology And The Archaeoraptor Hoax" as well as "The Frauds Of Evolution #12: Frauds Of A Feather — NationalGeographic’s Archaeoraptor Hoax Part 2".
Archaeoraptor’s debut was accomplished with widespread publicity. National Geographic’s November 1999 press release used language remarkably similar to other fossil forgeries—such as the 1913 description of Piltdown Man and the 2009 description of Ida, a lemur-like animal thought to document human evolution. In the Archaeoraptor press release, Czerkas states, “It’s a missing link that has the advanced characters of birds and undeniable dinosaurian characters as well.”