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ArchaeoraptorFossil, Fossil Forgery
Dr. Timothy Rowe - The University of Texas at Austin
Zhe-Xi Luo, Richard A. Ketcham, Jessica A. Maisano, and Matthew W. Colbert
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Institute for Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology

Image processing: Dr. Jessie Maisano
Publication Date: 01 Sep 2016


This page serves supplemental imagery for a paper entitled X-ray Computed Tomography Datasets for Forensic Analysis of Vertebrate Fossils by T.B. Rowe, Z.-X. Luo, R.A. Ketcham, J.A. Maisano and M.W. Colbert (2016, Nature Scientific Data, 3, 160040). The abstract is as follows:

We describe X-ray computed tomography (CT) datasets from three specimens recovered from Early Cretaceous lakebeds of China that illustrate the forensic interpretation of CT imagery for paleontology. Fossil vertebrates from thinly bedded sediments often shatter upon discovery and are commonly repaired as amalgamated mosaics grouted to a solid backing slab of rock or plaster. Such methods are prone to inadvertent error and willful forgery, and once required potentially destructive methods to identify mistakes in reconstruction. CT is an efficient, nondestructive alternative that can disclose many clues about how a specimen was handled and repaired. These annotated datasets illustrate the power of CT in documenting specimen integrity and are intended as a reference in applying CT more broadly to evaluating the authenticity of comparable fossils.

About the Species

The 'Archaeoraptor' amalgamation was reportedly collected from the Early Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of Liaoning, but no documentation accompanied it. It was provided for scanning by Steven and Sylvia Czerkas of the Dinosaur Museum, Blanding, Utah, under a grant from the National Geographic Society to Dr. Philip Currie of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller, Alberta. The specimen was later disclosed to have been smuggled from China and sold for $80,000 in the US, as a purported missing link between birds and more primitive theropod dinosaurs. It was repatriated to the Institute for Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing in 2000.

About this Specimen

This specimen was scanned by Richard Ketcham on 29 July 1999 along the long axis of the slab for a total of 422 slices. Each slice is 1.0 mm thick, with an interslice spacing of 0.9 mm (resulting in an overlap of 0.1 mm between slices) and a field of reconstruction of 270 mm.

About the


Rowe, T.B., Ketcham, R.A., Denison, C., Colbert, M.W., Xu, X., and Currie, P.J. 2001. The Archaeoraptor forgery. Nature, 410, 539-540.


Archaeoraptor on Wikipedia

& Links

Large-format photographs of the surface of Archaeoraptor under visible (rows 1-3) and ultraviolet (rows 4-6) light. Images taken by Lou Mazzatenta for National Geographic Creative in 1999. Click on thumbnails for unreduced images.


To cite this page: Dr. Timothy Rowe, Zhe-Xi Luo, Richard A. Ketcham, Jessica A. Maisano, and Matthew W. Colbert, 2016, "Archaeoraptor" (On-line), Digital Morphology. Accessed July 24, 2024 at http://digimorph.org/specimens/Archaeoraptor_forgery/.

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