Ancient Interpretations

Reconstruction Errors

Frauds Overview

Famous Frauds



Failures, Frauds, Fakes and Fixes in Palaeontology

This website is dedicated to educating the general public on the frauds and errors that have been made by palaeontologists through the years, the implications the mistakes have had on the science of palaeontology, and how these frauds and errors are being uncovered and fixed. The web site is split into a further six pages, each looking at various aspects of palaeontology, and how interpretations have changed, and the science has improved.

The first page is dedicated to the ancient interpretations of the palaeontological world. The page looks at the interpretations that the Greeks and Romans, Chinese, and Native Americans made about the fossil remains they unearthed.

The next page is dedicated to the one of the more fundamental errors in a science like palaeontology, that of reconstruction. These can occur from lack of biological knowledge, lack of fossils, or general incompetence. The page covers some of the most famous mistakes, although countless others have undoubtedly been made.

There is a page dedicated to an overview of frauds, which covers the basics of what a fraud/fake is, who makes them, where, why and a brief look at how. There is a link to a good site for identifying fakes for the amateur fossil collector.

A page is dedicated to some of the most famous frauds and why it happened, who was responsible, and how the frauds were eventually discovered. These frauds include Piltdown Man, Archaeoraptor and Lithographiae Wirceburgensis.

The final pages are dedicated to the implications that these frauds have had on palaeontology, and what potential solutions are.

This page was built by Andrew Cuff and Nancy Scott, Palaeontology and Evolution students at the University of Bristol, May 2008. Any comments or questions please feel free to get in touch with Andrew Cuff or Nancy Scott.