Little green men. Can they exist? Do they exist? And what do they look like?
In a piece by Richard Stone in this week’s Science, it was pointed out that in Chinese Museums, it is likely that up to 80% of the marine reptiles on display have been altered or artificially combined to some degree. This seems like a shocking figure, but it is more understandable when it is considered that few of these museums have palaeontologists as staff, and that many of these fossils are unearthed by Chinese farmers that dress their finds up so that a museum is more likely to buy them. Of late there has been a boom, both in the numbers of museums, but also in the acquisition funds set aside for accessioning fossils; this, coupled with prizes for the best specimens, means that finding (or fabricating) a complete fossil can prove to be quite lucrative.