Saturday, February 19, 2005


A German anthropologist has been discredited after skulls hed dated as thousands of years old turned out to be frauds:
A flamboyant anthropology professor, whose work had been cited as evidence Neanderthal man once lived in Northern Europe, has resigned after a German university panel ruled he fabricated data and plagiarized the works of his colleagues.

Reiner Protsch von Zieten, a Frankfurt university panel ruled, lied about the age of human skulls, dating them tens of thousands of years old, even though they were much younger, reports Deutsche Welle.

"The commission finds that Prof. Protsch has forged and manipulated scientific facts over the past 30 years," the university said of the widely recognized expert in carbon data in a prepared statement....

Protsch's work first came under suspicion last year during a routine investigation of German prehistoric remains by two other anthropologists....

Among their findings was an age of only 3,300 years for the female "Bischof-Speyer" skeleton, found with unusually good teeth in Northern Germany, that Protsch dated to 21,300 years.

Another dating error was identified for a skull found near Paderborn, Germany, that Protsch dated at 27,400 years old. It was believed to be the oldest human remain found in the region until the Oxford investigations indicated it belonged to an elderly man who died in 1750.

The discoveries have caused shockwaves in standard theories of prehistoric man:
The fallout from Protsch's false dating of northern European bone finds is only beginning.

Chris Stringer, a Stone Age specialist and head of human origins at London's Natural History Museum, said: "What was considered a major piece of evidence showing that the Neanderthals once lived in northern Europe has fallen by the wayside. We are having to rewrite prehistory."

"Anthropology now has to revise its picture of modern man between 40,000 and 10,000 B.C.," added Thomas Terberger, an archaeologist at the University of Greifswald.

Scott Ott at Scrappleface finds the professor's hoax a little hard to swallow.

The stance of a scientific community so strongly invested in the theory of evolution will likely reflect the recent attitude of Dan Rather in another, um, questionable case:

The skulls may be fake, but they're most likely accurate.

1 comment:

Hatless in Hattiesburg said...

the first warning sign should have been the words "flamboyant anthropology professor". if there were any flamboyant professors at my college, they sure weren't in the anthropology department...