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Fake fossil not one but two new species

The tortuous tale of a forged fossil just keeps getting weirder.

When scientists unveiled Archaeoraptor liaoningensis at a National Geographic Society press conference in October 1999, some researchers hailed the fossil as a missing link between birds and dinosaurs. But the very mixture of features that made the fossil evolutionarily interesting–the flightworthy feathers and advanced wing structure of birds and a tail like that of a small theropod dinosaur–also caused some scientists to doubt its authenticity (SN: 11/20/99, p. 328).

They were right. Further research revealed that the fossil, which had been smuggled out of China, was a fake pieced together from different dinosaurs (SN: 1/15/00, p. 38). Now, scientists who have conducted detailed X-ray analyses of the forgery conclude that the bones of up to five different animals were cobbled together to produce the faux find. The specimens are from at least two species new to science.

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