February 23, 2005

"Dating disaster" followup

Regular readers will recall the story from September about the German anthropologist under investigation for a host of scams, including falsification of Carbon-14 datings.

The original charges have all been confirmed, with yet more added:

Yesterday his university in Frankfurt announced the professor had been forced to retire because of numerous "falsehoods and manipulations". According to experts, his deceptions may mean an entire tranche of the history of man's development will have to be rewritten.

"Anthropology is going to have to completely revise its picture of modern man between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago," said Thomas Terberger, the archaeologist who discovered the hoax. "Prof Protsch's work appeared to prove that anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals had co-existed, and perhaps even had children together. This now appears to be rubbish."

The scandal only came to light when Prof Protsch was caught trying to sell his department's entire chimpanzee skull collection to the United States.

An inquiry later established that he had also passed off fake fossils as real ones and had plagiarised other scientists' work.

And here's an entirely new dimension to the story:
Far from being the descendant of a dashing general in the hussars, the professor was the son of a Nazi MP, Wilhelm Protsch, Der Spiegel magazine revealed last October.

The university is investigating how thousands of documents lodged in the anthropology department relating to the Nazis' gruesome scientific experiments in the 1930s were mysteriously shredded, allegedly under the professor's instructions.

From the Guardian.

Posted by David on February 23, 2005 8:22 AM

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