Red-faced and downhearted, paleontologists are growing convinced that they have been snookered by a bit of fossil fakery from China. The "feathered dinosaur" specimen that they recently unveiled to much fanfare apparently combines the tail of a dinosaur with the body of a bird, they say.
"It's the craziest thing I've ever been involved with in my career," says paleontologist Philip J. Currie of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Drumheller, Alberta.
The fossil, named Archaeoraptor liaoningensis, comes from the northeastern province of Liaoning, where local farmers have been unearthing many new dinosaur species, some showing evidence of downlike coats and feathers. Currie, Stephen Czerkas of the Dinosaur Museum in Blanding, Utah, and Xing Xu of the Institute o