Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mortgaging the Future of Chinese Paleontology

Chinese fossil forgery in the last decade highlights some troubling trends in Chinese vertebrate paleontology. While fossil forgeries unfailingly stoke public fascination in a field capable of producing the infamous Piltdown man hoax, the widespread damages that forgery causes are often not sufficiently recognized. Amid the renaissance of Chinese paleontology evidenced by stunning discoveries of inconceivable riches of fossils, paleontologic science is treading a path never experienced elsewhere: Commercialization of fossils and all that goes with a quasi-free market of fossil trade that has simultaneously become the boom and bane of Chinese vertebrate paleontology.

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