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Archaeopteryx is a fake

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The feather imprints of the London Archaeopteryx fossil specimen were forged. Evidence for this is that

These points indicate that the feather impressions were made by someone impressing feathers in a cement-like matrix that was added to the stone. Without the feathers, Archaeopteryx would be identified as the dinosaur Compsognathus, not as a transitional fossil.



  1. Creationist think-tank Answers in Genesis agrees that this claim is false, and is on their list of arguments that should not be used.
  2. The London fossil is not only no longer the only one with clear feather imprints, but Archaeopteryx isn't even the only known dinosaur fossil to have feathers anymore. Allegations of fraud look especially silly given that so many different fossils have been found by completely different teams of researchers in different countries.
  3. The specific claims are meaningless and largely reflect Hoyle, et al's ignorance of paleontology, mistaking common features of fossils for evidence of subterfuge.
    • Failure of feather impressions to appear in the counterslab: It is typical of Solnhofen fossils for the imprint to be vague or nonexistent on the counterslab. This results from how the fossils formed. If this is a sign of fakery, every Solnhofen fossil is a fake, a truly monumental task!
    • Difference in surface texture: This is typical of fossils in many formations, Solnhofen included. The animal falls on the ground and changes the surface texture of the ground, resulting in a differently textured fossil. Walk outside barefoot after a rain on sandy soil and you can watch the same effect happen.
    • The vanishing blobs: The blobs are natural irregularities in the rock. Most of them do match between the slab and counterslab, the only exceptions being where material was chipped away to reveal hidden parts of the fossil.
    • The double-strike: Perhaps the most obvious falsehood among Hoyle's claims, what do you expect to happen when a three-dimensional animal covered with overlapping feathers is preserved much flatter than it lived? This is found generally in fossils of animals where the feathers were preserved.
    • The hairline cracks: This wasn't intended by Hoyle as evidence of fakery, but as a counter to evidence of Archaeopteryx not being a fake. As such, it's probably accurate, the hairline cracks could have formed even if the fossil was faked. So? They could also form in a real fossil.
    • Different grade of limestone: Again, this is typical of feathered fossils. Leave a feathered animal (or hairy, for that matter) on the ground and it's feather covering becomes permeated with sand. However, smaller sand grains fit into the feathers better than the larger. This results in a noticeably different texture as the surrounding limestone is more grainy and that of the feathered area is far more fine.
    • The unknown material: The substance is probably silica rubber, of the type used to make copies of the fossil. Finding some left on the fossil is hardly unusual.
    • Suspicious chemicals: Translation: The found remnants of the cleaning and copying processes. Big yawn.
  4. Those who claim that Archaeopteryx fossils are frauds fail to account how all of the fossil specimens look similiar, despite the fact that the last specimen collected during the 19th century is about 80 years older than the first specimen collected during the 20th century. Certainly, if the fossil specimens were all frauds, there would be appreciable differences between the 19th century specimens and the 20th century specimens.
  5. As it turns out, Archeaopteryx specimens have been falsely labeled as compsognathus before, but this is the fault of museum curators before the discovery was widely known.
  6. add more responses

External Links

Nedin, Chris, 1997. On Archaeopteryx, astronomers, and forgery. Each of the claims is thoroughly investigated.


  1. Charig, Alan et al., 1986. Archaeopteryx is not a forgery. Science 232: 622-625.
  2. Nedin, Chris, 1997. (see above)
  3. Spetner, L.M.; Hoyle, F.; Wickramasinghe, N.C. & Magaritz, M., 1988. Archaeopteryx - more evidence for a forgery. British Journal of Photography 135: 14-17.
  4. Swinburne, N.H.M., 1988. The Solnhofen Limestone and the preservation of Archaeopteryx. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 3(10): 274-277.
  5. Wellnhofer, P., 1993. The seventh specimen of Archaeopteryx from the Solnhofen Limestone. Archaeopteryx 11: 1-47.

Further Reading

Majka, Christopher, 1992. Archaeopteryx - is this bird a fraud? New Brunswick Naturalist [1].

See Also



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