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Archaeopteryx is a fake (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Archaeopteryx is a fake (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CC351:

The feather imprints of the London Archaeopteryx specimen were forged. Evidence for this is that :
  • The feather impressions appear only on the slab, not on the counterslab.
  • The surface texture is different between the feathered and unfeathered areas.
  • Slightly elevated "blobs" appear which are not always matched by depressions on the counterslab.
  • The feathers show "double strike" impressions.
  • Hairline cracks which pass through both bones and feathers could have formed by slight movements to the slab after the cement was in place.
  • Under magnification, the limestone appears different in fossil and non-fossil areas of the specimen.
  • Unknown material appears within the matrix in the fossil area.
  • An x-ray chemical analysis showed chemical differences, including silicon, sulfur, and chlorine in the fossil area that were not present in the non-fossil area.

These points indicate that the feather impressions were made by someone impressing feathers in a cement-like matrix that was added to the stone. Without the feathers, Archaeopteryx would be identified as the dinosaur Compsognathus, not as a transitional fossil.


  • Watkins, R. S., F. Hoyle, N. C. Wickramasinghe, J. Watkins, R. Rabilizirov, and L. M. Spetner, 1985a. Archaeopteryx -- a photographic study. British Journal of Photography 132: 264-266.
  • Watkins, R. S. et al., 1985b. Archaeopteryx -- a further comment. British Journal of Photography 132: 358-359,367.
  • Watkins, R. S. et al., 1985c. Archaeopteryx -- further evidence. British Journal of Photography 132: 468-470.
  • Hoyle, Fred, N. C. Wickramasinghe and R. S. Watkins, 1985. Archaeopteryx: Problems arise -- and a motive. British Journal of Photography 132(6516): 693-695,703.
  • Hoyle, Fred and C. Wickramasinghe, 1986. Archaeopteryx, The Primordial Bird, Christopher Davis, London.
  • Spetner, L. M., F. Hoyle, N. C. Wickramasinghe and M. Magaritz, 1988. Archaeopteryx -- more evidence for a forgery. British Journal of Photography 135: 14-17.

CreationWiki response:

It needs to be noted that none of cited sources are creationist sources, so while some creationists have used this claim, it is not a creationist claim.

That said, CreationWiki does not consider Archaeopteryx to be a fake. In fact it is far more useful to creationists as a real fossil, since based on uniformitarian dating methods, the bird is older than all of the so-called feathered dinosaurs. It stands perched as an excellent example of the fact that evolutionists often ignore their own dating methods to produce transitional series.

While Archaeopteryx had some traits in common with dinosaurs, it was clearly a bird.