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The “Dating Disaster” of Neanderthal Man

by  Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

“If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” Most of us have heard this piece of advice on more than one occasion. Yet, this was exactly the case with a famous Neanderthal fossil discovered in a peat bog near Hamburg, Germany. Prior to its discovery, the evolutionary timeline of ape-like creatures remained extremely “fuzzy” as it approached modern man. There simply were not any fossils that shed light on this period. But a single discovery dated by Professor Reiner Protsch cleared up the picture. Many years ago, he was invited to date the famous skull, which he later pronounced to be the vital missing link between Neanderthals and modern humans. He dated the skull at 36,000 years old, allowing it to fall neatly into the evolutionists’ timeline between Neanderthals and modern man. Finally, thanks to Protsch, the gap had been filled. All the pieces were in place.

For evolutionists, it was too good to be true. And indeed, it was. On February 18, 2005, Protsch was forced to retire in disgrace after a Frankfurt University panel ruled he had “fabricated data and plagiarized the work of his colleagues” (see “Anthropologist Resigns in ‘Dating Disaster,’ ” 2005). If this scenario sounds familiar, you are exactly right (see, for example, Piltdown Hoax). Once believed to be a world-renowned expert on carbon dating, Protsch’s entire professional career is now being questioned. The university noted: “The commission finds that Prof. Protsch has forged and manipulated scientific facts over the past 30 years” (“Anthropologist Resigns…”).

Protsch’s work first attracted suspicion when scientists at Oxford wanted to double-check the authenticity of his dates and verify the ages of many previously reported fossils using modern techniques. Oxford officials insist that this “dating disaster” was discovered during a routine examination, and was not an attempt to discredit Professor Protsch. The fossils he had dated were just in a long line of others that were being rechecked. According to Thomas Terberger, the archaeologist who discovered the hoax: “[A]nthropology is going to have to completely revise its picture of modern man between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago” (as quoted in Harding, 2005). He continued: “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” (emp. added).

But the Neanderthal skull was not the only forgery Oxford discovered. Protsch also had paraded “Binshof-Speyer” woman before the public, stating that she was 21,300 years old. Yet the new Oxford date puts this woman living at 1,300 B.C. Protsch also claimed that “Paderborn-Sande Man” walked the Earth 27,400 B.C., and yet the corrected figure reveals that he died only a couple hundred years ago—in A.D. 1750! Futhermore, Protsch also is being investigated for a scandal in which he allegedly tried to sell 280 chimpanzee skulls to individuals in the United States for $70,000.

Evolutionists are quick to point out that this is how science works—that it is self-correcting. And there is a great deal of truth to that statement. However, one must question how such scientists can continue to support evolution being taught as “fact,” knowing that much of what we believe to be true today will have to be “self-corrected” in the future. Why not allow students to “examine the controversy” and discuss possible problems with evolutionary theory? How many students did Professor Protsch affect with his forged information? Likely, that number is in the thousands. After all, his dates “looked good” and “fit the evolutionary timeline,” which meant textbooks would be quick to pick them up. Never mind that the material was a complete hoax.

According to the World Net Daily Web site, Rudolf Steinberg, Frankfurt University’s president, “apologized for the University’s failure to curb Protsch’s misconduct for decades. ‘A lot of people looked the other way,’ he said.” But what good does that apology do when it comes to unraveling the lie that was sold to the public for so many years? The article went on to report: “Chris Stringer, a Stone Age specialist and head of human origins at London’s Natural History Museum, said: ‘What was considered a major piece of evidence showing that the Neanderthals once lived in northern Europe has fallen by the wayside. We are having to rewrite prehistory’ ” (2005). How many times must we rewrite evolutionary history? Don’t students deserve better? Don’t we all deserve better?

REFERENCES

Harding, Luke (2005), “Another Day, Another ‘Science’ Fraud,” MedKB, [On-Line], URL: http://www.medkb.com/Uwe/Forum.aspx/alternative/11208/Another-Day-Another-Science-Fraud.

“Anthropologist Resigns in ‘Dating Disaster’ ” (2005), World Net Daily, [On-line], URL: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/printer-friendly.asp?ARTICLE_ID=42940.




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