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No. 59: Sep-Oct 1988

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A new fossil of Archaeopteryx has been found in a private collection, where it was misclassified as a small dinosaur. The specimen was actually found many years ago by an amateur in the Upper Jurassic Solnhofen limestone in Bavaria, in about the same area as the Berlin and Eichstatt Archaeopteryx fossils. Under low-angle illumination, the new specimen shows parallel impressions originating from the lower arm of the left "wing." These impressions are "interpreted" as imprints of feather shafts. Thus, the new fossil reinforces the mainstream position that Archaeopteryx really did have feathers and was a link between reptiles and birds. Evolutionists will rest easier now.

Two bothersome observations intrude, however. First, although the report on the new specimen states that the question of forgery does not arise here, even though the specimen's tail has been restored to the length deemed by the owner. In addition, the new Archaeopteryx is 10% larger than the London specimen, 30% larger than the Berlin specimen, and fully twice the size of the Eichstatt specimen. Is there more than one Archaeopteryx species?

(Wellnhofer, Peter; "A New Specimen of Archaeopteryx," Science, 240:1790, 1988. Also: Wilford, John Noble; "Fossil May Help Tie Reptiles to Birds," New York Times, June 24, 1988. Cr. J. Covey) Comment. We wonder if Hoyle and Wickramasinghe will be allowed to examine the new specimen. Of course, this new discovery does not disprove the forgery claim for the two specimens studied by Hoyle and Wickramasinghe; it merely weakens their case.

From Science Frontiers #59, SEP-OCT 1988. 1988-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987