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September 9 2012

Counterfeit fossils undermine research projects


Fake fossils are duping scientists and museums, a senior paleontologist has warned, after a scholar was forced to retract a controversial essay that stated the cheetah originated in China.

According to Li Chun, associate researcher at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, counterfeits are now widespread and have become a serious risk to genuine study projects.

"I believe many scholars are victims of fake fossils," he said, before estimating that more than 80 percent of marine reptile specimens on display in Chinese museums "have been altered or artificially combined to varying degrees".

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