Evolution Intelligent Design

Giant fossil spider revealed to be giant hoax

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The specimen will be stripped of the scientific name Mongolarachne chaoyangensis and rechristened as a crayfish/Selden et al., Eurekalert

Okay, it’s Christmas Eve in Canada. Here is your virtual Christmas fun prize:

Earlier this year, a remarkable new fossil specimen was unearthed in the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of China by area fossil hunters — possibly a huge ancient spider species, as yet unknown to science.

University of Kansas, “This Ancient “Giant Spider” Fossil Surprised Paleontologists – Detective Work Revealed a Hoax” at SciTech Daily

It was called “Mongolarachne chaoyangensis,” and it was written up in journals.

But then:

But other scientists in Beijing, upon seeing the paper, had suspicions. The spider fossil was huge and strange looking. Concerned, they contacted a U.S. colleague who specializes in ancient spider fossils: Paul Selden, distinguished professor of invertebrate paleontology in the Department of Geology at the University of Kansas.

University of Kansas, “This Ancient “Giant Spider” Fossil Surprised Paleontologists – Detective Work Revealed a Hoax” at SciTech Daily

It turned out to be a badly preserved crayfish onto which someone had painted some legs. Apparently, the main market for this sort of thing is gullible tourists. That is, …

Along came a spider
And sat down beside her
And snaffled her money away …

Now and then, scientists get snaffled. Needless to say, “Mongolarachne chaoyangensis” won’t be on a serious museum tour soon.

But not to worry, there are many great, real fossils out there, bringing the past to life! Merry Christmas!

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