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Fossil fakery article in New Scientist
I enjoyed reading Hecht's particle on recent Chinese fossil fakery in New
As a historical note, the earliest incidents of fossil forgeries for profit
occurred about 900 years ago in China. In the twelfth century AD, exquistely
preserved fossil fishes were recognized as petrified lifeforms and there was
a great demand for the specimens. To cash in, local villagers began to create
fake fossil fish by painting the outlines of the fish on stones.
But replicas of fossils have been found in much earlier contexts, for example
the carved and molded fake fossil gastropods in Neolithic sites on the island
of Malta and the marble models of shark vertebrae from the same time period
on Crete. Their purpose--profit, ritual, deception, or other--is unknown.
<A HREF="http://pup.princeton.edu/titles/6811.html">Mayor, A.: The First
Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times.</A>