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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
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Claim CC352:

Archaeoraptor was touted by scientists as the dinosaur-bird transition (Sloan 1999), but it was revealed as a fake, a composite of an avian body and a non-avian dinosaur's tail.


Austin, S. A., 2000. Archaeoraptor: Feathered dinosaur from National Geographic doesn't fly. Impact 321 (Mar).


  1. Archaeoraptor was not a scientific fraud. It was put together by the Chinese fossil hunter who discovered it. The pieces were assembled to make the fossil more marketable to collectors, not to researchers. This worker may or may not have known that the tail came from a separate fossil (Simons 2000).

  2. Archaeoraptor was published in the popular press, not in peer-reviewed journals. The main author of the article about it was National Geographic's art editor, not a scientist. Nature and Science both rejected papers describing it, citing suspicions that it was doctored and illegally smuggled (Dalton 2000; Simons 2000). Normal scientific procedures worked to uphold high standards.

  3. The two halves of Archaeoraptor (Yanornis martini, the body, and Microraptor zhaoianus, the tail) are valuable fossils in their own right (Rowe et al. 2001; Xu et al. 2000; Zhou et al. 2002).


  1. Dalton, Rex, 2000. Feathers fly over Chinese fossil bird's legality and authenticity. Nature 403: 689-690.
  2. Rowe, T. et al., 2001. The Archaeoraptor forgery. Nature 410: 539-540.
  3. Simons, L. M., 2000. (See below)
  4. Sloan, Christopher P., 1999. Feathers for T. Rex? National Geographic 196(5) (Nov.): 98-107.
  5. Xu, Xing, Zhonghe Zhou and Xiaolin Wang, 2000. The smallest known non-avian theropod dinosaur. Nature 408: 705-708.
  6. Zhou, Zhonghe, Julia A. Clarke and Fucheng Zhang, 2002. Archaeoraptor's better half. Nature 420: 285.

Further Reading:

Simons, Lewis M., 2000. Archaeoraptor fossil trail. National Geographic 198(4) (Oct.): 128-132.
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created 2001-2-18, modified 2004-8-29