When John Hawks inquired with the original describer of Sahelanthropus, Professor Michel Brunet, he received the following remarkable reply:
In Chad, we have uncovered thousands of bones, which are in the process of study. Perhaps among them are hominid bones, but I only comment on those that have been published in a scientific review.
This is plainly false, because in fact only a few dozen fossils were uncovered together with the cranium of Sahelanthropus. This is clearly visible in the photos from the discovery site (Hawks 2009b). Hawks comments that the femur bone lay unrecognized for three years in the Toros-Menalla faunal collection but was recognized as a hominid femur in 2004.
Now, Callaway (2018a) reports in Nature News, in the words of Hawks (2018), that
two scientists, Roberto Macchiarelli and Aude Bergeret, attempted to present a talk describing this femur at the annual meeting of the Societé d’Anthropologie de Paris this month. The society rejected their abstract, which has triggered some professional criticism.
Callaway quotes paleoanthropologist Bill Jungers at Stony Brook University as saying that the description of the femur is “long overdue” and “We don’t know why it’s been kept secret. Maybe it’s not even a hominin.” More.
To the extent that the relics of human evolution icons are treated as evidence for the creation story of naturalism, a trade in fake relics should come as no great surprise. Let’s see how they handle it.
For some reason, one thinks of the mediaeval monarch who remarked that there were enough relics of the True Cross circulating in Europe to float a navy.
Darwin’s faithful may well regret driving out Bechly when he started to ask questions. He can draw attention to things and make connections much more freely.
See also: Paleontologist: Nothing seems to be happening like they said in human evolution documentaries
Gunter Bechly: Decline of science? Imaged in a single paragraph