Archaeopteryx (pronounced Ark-ee-op-ta-riks) means “ancient” (archae) “wing” (pteryx). But the story behind this alleged half-dinosaur, half-bird (dinobird) is much more interesting than its fancy, scientific sounding name or the details of its bones. If Archaeopteryx were shown to be a fraud, the result would be devastating for the evolution theory.
Compsognathus (pronounced Komp-sog-nay-thus) and Archaeopteryx have many similarities. Compsognathus fossils are also found at the same site in Germany where Archaeopteryx was found. The head and body of Archaeopteryx is similar to that of a small coelurosaurian dinosaur, Compsognathus. The flight feathers are exactly like those of modern birds. If they were removed, the creature would appear to be only a small dinosaur. If you carefully examine a photograph of the “London specimen”, you will note that the flight feathers consist only of carefully drawn lines, nothing else! It would be relatively easy for someone to take a genuine fossil of a Compsognathus and carefully scratch those lines onto the surface (Dougal Dixon, The Macmillan Illustrated Enclyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals (New York Macmillan Publishing, 1988).
Since the early 1980’s several prominent scientists have charged that two Archaeopteryx fossils with clearly visible feathers are forgeries. Allegedly, thin layers of cement were spread on the mating surfaces (slab and counterslab) of two fossils of a chicken-size dinosaur called Compsognathus. Bird feathers were imprinted into wet cement. Dr. Lee Spetner made an allegation that Archaeopteryx was a fake when he studied the British Museum specimen in June 1978. In July 1980, Dr. Lee Spetner made this allegation in a meeting of orthodox Jewish scientists held in Jerusalem.
“The main thing found on these specimens which gives evidence of forgery is cement blobs had been used during the etching process. They suggested the following procedures for creating the feather impressions: 1. The forgers removed rock from around the tail and forelimb regions. 2. They applied a thin layer of cement, probably made from limestone of the Solnhofen quarries, to the excavated areas and. 3. They impressed feathers on the cement and held them in place by adhesive material referred to as ‘chewing gum’ blobs). Attempts to remove the blobs from the rock were obvious, the slabs were scraped, brush, and chipped. However, an oversight remained in the cleaning process: one ‘chewing gum’ blob and fragments of others were left behind” (Venus E. Clausen, “Recent Debate Over Archaeopteryx”).
Is Archaeopteryx a casualty of the “bone wars”? Like Brontosaurus who was a dinosaur with a wrong skull. It was actually an Apatosaurus that Othniel Marsh put the wrong skull on, and called it Brontosaurus.The skull.was found in a completely different quarry in a different layer of strata. Shame on you Marsh for deceiving the people! Is Archaeopteryx a flying reptile, just another bird, or a fraud, a reptile with wings added? Could Archaeopteryx be Compsognathus with wings added? How many other dinosaur fossils out there in museums are also forgeries. I never understood how could they make a whole dinosaur out of just one or two bones or a partial skeleton.