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This is Part 2 of an unusual story, which probably is another of the many evolutionary hoaxes which have been perpetrated over the years. Evolutionary theory is a myth. God created everything; the evidence clearly points to it. This is science vs. evolution—a Creation-Evolution Encyclopedia, brought to you by Creation Science Facts.

CONTENTS: The Case of Archaeopteryx: 2

Archaeopteryx Probably Is a Fake: The evidence strongly indicates it is a fake
Conclusion: Either way, there is no evidence pointing to evolution

Page numbers without book references refer to the book, HISTORY OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORY, from which these facts are summarized. An asterisk ( * ) by a name indicates that person is not known to be a creationist. Of over 4,000 quotations in the set of books this Encyclopedia is based on, only 164 statements are by creationists.


Now we come to a totally opposite position: Archaeopteryx is not an extinct bird, but rather a planned hoax. At the same time that mounting evidence was beginning to indicate it to be a carefully contrived fake; confirmed evolutionists moved toward the position that Archaeopteryx was only an ancient bird and not a half-reptile / half-bird. By calling it a `bird," they avoided the crisis that struck the scientific world—and the major museums—when Piltdown Man was exposed as a hoax in 1953.

Three initial problems. Before considering the *Hoyle / *Watkins expose, let us first look at some other facets of this overall problem.

You will observe in the following discussion that there are some observational differences between this and the preceding approach to the problem. For example, while some experts consider Archaeopteryx to have had a body like a bird, those who consider it a fake believe the fossilized body to be a reptile. Somebody took a reptile fossil—and carefully added wings to it!

"Like the later Piltdown man, Archaeopteryx seemed a perfect intermediate form . . There are, however, disturbing analogies between Piltdown man and Archaeopteryx that have come to light with careful study. Both are hodgepodges of traits found in the forms they are supposed to link—with each trait present in essentially full developed form rather than in an intermediate state! Allowing for alterations, Piltdown's jaw was that of an orangutan; Archaeopteryx's skull was a dinosaur skull. Moreover, Piltdown man's cranium was a Homo sapien's skull; Archaeopteryx's feathers were ordinary feathers, differing in no significant way from those of a strong flying bird such as a falcon . . The lack of proper sufficient bony attachments for powerful flight muscles is enough to rule out the possibility that Archaeopteryx could even fly, feathers notwithstanding."—W. Frair and P. Davis, Case for Creation (1983), pp. 58-60.

1: A profitable business. There are those who believe that Archaeopteryx was a carefully contrived fake. It would be relatively easy to do. The nature of the hard limestone would make it easy to carefully engrave something on it. Since the first Archaeopteryx sold for such an exorbitant price to the highest bidder (The British Museum), the second, produced 16 years later, had a reptile-like head—and sold for a tremendous amount to the museum in Berlin. The owner of that quarry made a small fortune on the sale of each of those two specimens.

2: Feathers added to a fossil? In these specimens we find powerful flight feathers on strong wings, shown as faint steaks radiating out from what appears to be a small reptile body. The head and body of Archaeopteryx is similar to that of a small coelurosaurian dinosaur, Compsognathus; the flight feathers are exactly like those of modern birds. If they were removed, the creature would appear to be only a small dinosaur. If you carefully examine a photograph of the "London specimen," you will note that the flight feathers consist only of carefully drawn lines!

It would be relatively easy for someone to take a genuine fossil of a compsognathus—and carefully scratch those lines onto the surface of the smooth, durable limestone. All that would be needed would be a second fossil of a bird as a pattern to copy the markings from,—and then inscribe its wing pattern onto the reptile specimen. That is all that would be required, and the result would be a fabulous amount of income. And both specimens did produce just that!

3: All specimens came from the same place. Keep in mind that all six of those specimens were found in the Solnhofen Plattenkalk of Franconia, Germany, near the town of Eichstatt. Nowhere else—anywhere in the world—have any Archaeopteryx specimens ever been discovered!

Living in Germany, at the same time that these six specimens were found, was Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919). He would have been in the prime of life at the time both specimens were brought forth. Haeckel was the most rabid Darwinist advocate on the continent; it is well-known that he was very active at the time the finds were made, and he was continually seeking for new "proofs" of evolution so he could use them in his lecture circuit meetings. He loved verbal and visual illustrations, and it is now known that he spent time on the side enthusiastically inventing them!

It is also known that Haeckel had unusual artistic ability, and he put it to work fraudulently touching up and redrawing charts of ape skeletons and embryos so that they would appear to prove evolutionary theory. He had both the ability and the mind-set for the task. You will find more information on his fraudulent artistry in the section on Recapitulations. There is no doubt that Haeckel had the daring, the skill, the time, and the energy to forge those Archaeopteryx specimens. In those years, he always seemed to have the money to set aside time for anything he wanted to do in the way of lecturing or drawing charts. He even supported a mistress for a number of years. Perhaps some of that came from engraving bird feathers onto reptile fossils and then splitting the profits of Archaeopteryx sales with the quarry owners.

About 35 years ago, the present writer had opportunity to work for several weeks with two of the best nineteenth-century art materials: copper engraving and stone lithography. Both were used in the 19th century in printing, and both were able to reproduce the most delicate marks. This is because both copper and high-quality limestone have such a close grained, smooth surface. Bavarian and Franconian limestone quarries produced the best lithographic blocks. ("Lithos" and "grapho" mean writing.) Our present lithographic process, which uses thin metal plates, is a descendant of the limestone block method (which utilized printing from a flat surface because oily ink in the markings would not mix with the water on the smooth surface between the markings). The other primary method, that of copper engraving, used the intaglio method of fine tracery marks cut into a smooth surface. There is no doubt but that any good engraver could easily superimpose the marks of outward radiating flight feathers over an actual small dinosaur fossil.

"The feathers of Archaeopteryx suggest that there was a skillful flyer or glider at the same time that its skeleton suggests otherwise. Archaeopteryx is a mosaic of characteristics almost impossible to interpret, let alone to base evolutionary theories on!"—W. Frair and P. Davis, Case for Creation (1963), p. 61.

The *Hoyle / *Watkins expose. It was not until the 1980s that the most formidable opposition to these Solnhofen limestone specimens developed. Here is the story of what took place:

1: Background of the investigations. In 1983, *M. Trop wrote an article questioning the authenticity of the specimen ("Is Archaeopteryx a Fake?" in Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 20, pp. 121-122). Two years later a series of four articles appeared in the British Journal of Photography (March-June 1985 issues) declaring Archaeopteryx to be a carefully contrived hoax. These articles were authored by some of the leading scientists in England: *Fred Hoyle, *R.S. Watkins, *N.C. Wickramasinghe, *J. Watkins, *R. Rabilizirov, and *L.M. Spetner. And this brought the controversy to the attention of the scientific world.

Keep in mind as we discuss these specimens that, of all six, only the London and Berlin specimens are usable; the rest are hardly recognizable as anything. So all the evidence, pro and con, must come from one or the other of those two specimens. This crisis over the specimens began in 1983 when six leading British scientists, led by *Fred Hoyle and *R.S. Watkins, declared in print that Archaeopteryx was a definite hoax, just as much as Piltdown man had been a hoax. These researchers went to the London Museum and carefully studied and photographed the specimen. That specimen is contained in a slab and a counter slab—thus giving a front and back view of it. Here is what these well-known scientists discovered:

2: Slab mismatch. The two slabs do not appear to match. If the specimen was genuine, the front and back slabs should be mirror images of one another. A comparison of the present specimen with an 1863 drawing indicates an alteration was later made to the left wing of the specimen. The 1863 left wing was totally mismatched on the two slabs; the later alteration brought the match closer together.

3: Artificial feathers. *Hoyle, *Watkins, and others decided that the body skeleton and arms were genuine, but that the feather markings (those shallow lines radiating outward from the forelimbs) were carefully imprinted on the fossil by an unknown hand.

4: Cement blobs. They also found additional evidence of the forgery: cement blobs used during the etching process.

"They suggested the following procedure for creating the feather impressions: 1) The forgers removed rock from around the tail and `wing' (forelimb) regions. 2) They then applied a thin layer of cement, probably made from limestone of the Solnhofen quarries, to the excavated areas. 3) They impressed feathers on the cement and held them in place by adhesive material (referred to as `chewing gum' blobs). Attempts to remove the blobs from the rock were obvious—the slabs were scraped, brushed, and chipped. However, an oversight remained in the cleaning process: one `chewing gum' blob and fragments of others were left behind."—*Venus E. Clausen, "Recent Debate over Archaeopteryx."

5: Museum withdraws specimen. After their initial examination of the London specimen, they requested permission for a neutral testing center to further examine the blob area, utilizing an electron microscope, carbon-14 dating, and spectrophotometry. Three months later, museum officials sent word that the specimen was being withdrawn from further examination.

6: History of forgeries. *Hoyle, *Watkins, and the others then checked into historical sources and declared that they had discovered that, dating back to the early 18th century, the Solnhofen limestone area was notorious for its fossil forgeries. Genuine fossils, taken from the limestone quarries, had been altered and then sold to museums. These fossils brought good money because they appeared to be strange new species.

7: Discoveries follow prediction. *Thomas H. Huxley, Darwin's British champion, whom he called his "bulldog," had predicted that fossils of strange new species would be found. *Hoyle and others believed that, thus encouraged, the forgers went to work to produce them.

8: The Meyer connection. Of the six Archaeopteryx fossils, only three specimens show the obvious feather impressions. These three specimens were sent to *Hermann von Meyer, in Germany, who, within a 20-year period, analyzed and described them. *Hoyle and company suggest that they came in as reptiles and left with wings! It just so happens that Meyer worked closely with the Haberlein family, and they acquired his two best feathered reptile fossils—and then sold them to the museums. It was the *Haberlein family that made the profit—not the quarry owners. It would be relatively easy for them to split some of it with Meyer.

You can find all of the above material in four issues of the *British Journal of Photography (March-June 1985). Also see *W.J. Broad, "Authenticity of Bird Fossil Is Challenged," in New York Times, MY 7, 1985, pp. c1, c14; *T. Nield, "Feathers Fly over Fossil `Fraud' " in New Scientist 1467:49-50; *G. Vines, "Strange Case of Archaeopteryx `Fraud,' " in New Scientist 1447:3.

9: Aftermath. As might be expected, a torrent of wrath arose from the evolutionary community as a result of these four articles. Defenders of evolutionary theory went into an absolute rage, but the six scientists held their position.

This brought still further uproar. It had been the same British Museum which had been duped into the Piltdown Man hoax ("found' from 1908 to 1912, only a few miles from Darwin's old home, publicly announced that same year and shown to be a hoax in 1953).

For a time, the British Museum refused to relent, but the pressure was too great; so the museum arranged for a special committee, composed of a select variety of scientists, to review the matter. They examined the slabs and, in 1986, reported that, in their opinion, Archaeopteryx had no blobs. With this, the British Museum announced that the case was closed and the slabs will be unavailable for further examination.


Either way, there is no evidence of evolution.

Is Archaeopteryx a flying reptile, just another bird, or a fraud—a reptile with wings added? Take your pick; whatever way, it is definitely not a transitional species, and has no transitions leading to or from it.

"No doubt it can be argued that Archaeopteryx hints of a reptilian ancestry, but surely hints do not provide a sufficient basis upon which to secure the concept of the continuity of nature. Moreover, there is no question that this archaic bird is not led up to by a series of transitional forms from an ordinary terrestrial reptile through a number of gliding types with increasing developed feathers until the avian condition is reached."—*M. Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), p. 176.

"Nothing is known with certainty as to how birds arose from reptiles or from what reptilian stock."—*E. Russell, The Diversity of Animals (1962), p. 118.

"Although Archaeopteryx was generally considered the earliest bird on record, a recent find suggests that the creature, which lived some 130 million years ago, may not have been the only bird alive then. A new fossil found by James Jenson, of Brigham Young University, dates back to the same period—the Late Jurassic—and appears to be the femur (thighbone) of a bird. If this proved to be the case, then a re-examination of the postulated role of Archaeopteryx as the evolutionary link between reptiles and birds may be in order."—*J. Marx, "The Oldest Fossil Bird: A Rival for Archaeopteryx?" in Science, 199 (1978), p. 284.

"The age of origin of some modern group of birds is very old, in the Early Cretaceous if not before. This places them very nearly as old as Archaeopteryx, and raises the possibility that Archaeopteryx is not the temporal benchmark of a vain evolution we so often assume."—*J. Cracraft," Phylogenic Relationships and Monophyly of Loons, Grebes, and Hesperomithiform Birds," Systematic Zoology, 31 (1982), p. 53.


To the next topic in this series:

FAIRY TALES FOR BIG PEOPLE: The tales of the evolutionists would be funny, if what they do to people were not so miserable. However, here are some to really laugh at.