Jurassic Bunk
December 9, 2017 12:24 AM   Subscribe

“It’s either really a new dinosaur, which would be awesome, or it’s been tampered with and I really hope that’s not the case" Ed Yong on the case of the bogus bones (SL The Atlantic).

Doctored fossils have become increasingly common since Sue the T-Rex sold at auction for $7.6 million in 1990. Forgeries have got much more sophisticated since the days of Piltdown Man - palaeontologist Philip Currie says “You can never say that you are 100 percent sure, because some of these people are really incredible artisans.”
posted by Gin and Broadband (7 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
"Faux-sils" is such a great coinage.

I suppose it won't be long before we get fake bones that fool even the experts. Kind of frustrating that the market for dinosaur bones could cause the corruption of scientific investigation.
posted by Start with Dessert at 2:41 AM on December 9, 2017

Hmm, I had the exact opposite reaction to faux-sils. Ugh.

I wish we were actually doing anything systematic to address problems like this that arise from poverty and economic inequality. Fake dinosaurs are more minor than other effects of poverty, but as with many other problems this article mentions the market for fake fossils as if it is a force of nature. How about discussing why people are so eager to tap into that market?
posted by medusa at 4:13 AM on December 9, 2017

Not to trivialize its effects, but I doubt poverty is the driving force behind fake fossils: there's always going to be people willing to defraud a rich idiot. If Manhattan or Zurich was discovered to be fossil country tomorrow, you'd get people running fake fossil scams there too as long as the demand exists.
posted by Dr Dracator at 5:15 AM on December 9, 2017 [9 favorites]

Ed Yong on the case of the bogus bones (SL The Atlantic).

It was Bugs Meany, wasn't it?!?! I bet it was Bugs Meany.
posted by cashman at 7:27 AM on December 9, 2017 [7 favorites]

I kind of wonder if hard-core creationists wouldn't get in on the faux-sil train, and use them to "prove" that all fossils are fakes?
posted by Thorzdad at 10:28 AM on December 9, 2017

When he attends the gargantuan annual fossil show in Tuscon
posted by nestor_makhno at 11:08 AM on December 9, 2017

There's a related thing going on right now with (probably) fake Dead Sea Scrolls and other Bible-related texts. It turns out that when collectors throw silly amounts of money around for "exciting" artefacts, forgers start supplying the demand. I was trying to make an FPP out of it but most of the details are pretty technical or LOL XTIANS. Maybe I'll take another look.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:29 PM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

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