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 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!