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JPT Nº2

 

 

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DINOSAUR FRAUDS, HOAXES AND “FRANKENSTEINS”: HOW TO DISTINGUISH FAKE AND GENUINE VERTEBRATE FOSSILS

Mateus, O.1; Overbeeke, M.2 and Rita, F.3

1- Dept. of Earth Sciences (CICEGe-FCT), New University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal & Museu da Lourinhã, Rua João Luis de Moura, 2530-157 Lourinhã, Portugal. omateus@fct.unl.pt

2- National Natural History Museum Naturalis, Leiden, The Netherlands & Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands. m.overbeeke@hotmail.com

3- Clínica Montepio, Caldas da Rainha, Portugal. fjrita@netvisao.pt

 

ABSTRACT 

Dinosaurs and other fossils have been artificially enhanced, or totally forged, to increase their commercial value. The most problematic forgeries to detect are based on original fossils that are artificially assembled. Several techniques are suggested for detecting hoaxes: detailed visual examination, chemical analysis, X-ray or CT-scan, and ultraviolet light.

It is recommended that museums and paleontological researchers do not purchase and/or trade fossils lacking clear provenience information. Exceptions to that general rule should be closely examined using techniques described herein.

 

RESUMO [in Portuguese]

Os dinossauros e outros fósseis têm sido melhorados artificialmente ou completamente falsificados de forma a aumentar o seu valor comercial. As falsificações mais problemáticas são montagens artificiais de fósseis verdadeiros o que torna a detecção da fraude mais difícil. Várias técnicas são sugeridas para a detecção destes embustes: exame visual pormenorizado e crítico, análise química, raios X e tomografia computorizada e observação sob luz ultravioleta.

Os investigadores e os museus de paleontologia são recomendados a não comprarem e comercializarem fósseis de proveniência duvidosa. Se isso for absolutamente necessário, sugere-se que efectuem os testes aqui sugeridos.

 

SAMENVATTING [in Dutch]

Dinosauriërs en andere fossielen worden mogelijk kunstmatig verbeterd, of compleet vervalst, om de commerciële waarde te verhogen. De meest problematische vervalsingen zijn gebaseerd op originele fossielen die kunstmatig zijn vervaardigd waardoor het lastig is om ze te identificeren als vervalsingen. Verschillende technieken zijn gesuggereerd om vervalsingen te herkennen: gedetailleerde en rationele visuele inspectie, chemische analyse, X-ray of CT-scan, en ultraviolet licht.

Paleontologen en musea worden aangeraden om geen fossielen aan te kopen en te verhandelen van twijfelachtige herkomst. Als het absoluut nodig is, gebruik dan een gedetailleerde inspectie met de technieken die hier beschreven staan.

 

 

The way this article should be cited:

 

Mateus, O.; Overbeeke, M. and Rita, F. 2008. Dinosaur Frauds, Hoaxes and “Frankensteins”: How to distinguish fake and genuine vertebrate fossils, Journal of Paleontological Techniques, 2: 1-5.

 

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