Two documentaries called "Dinosaur Dealers" were recently broadcast on National Geographic TV. These dealt with the trade in fossils and fossil smuggling, and described the adventures of a paleontologist who followed in the tracks of a number of stolen fossils, or fossils smuggled out of Australia. The trail was followed, just like a detective would, and the program showed the negotiations carried out in order to trap the smugglers. The impression was thereby given that National Geographic is an idealistic body, chasing hot on the heels of the smugglers and striving with all its might to destroy this illegal trade. However, the TV channel failed to mention that just a few years ago it too was involved in the smuggling of an Archaeoraptor fossil (and the fraud that accompanied it). In fact, it said not a word about it.
Let us recall the details of that smuggling operation.
Archaeoraptor liaoningensis was a forged dino-bird fossil. The remains of the creature, alleged to be an evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds, had apparently been unearthed in the Liaoning area of China and were published in the November 1999 edition of National Geographic magazine.
Stephen Czerkas, an American museum administrator, had bought the fossil from the Chinese for $80,000, and then showed it to two scientists he had made contact with. Once the expected confirmation had been received, he wrote a report about the fossil. Yet Czerkas was no scientific researcher or doctorate holder. Two famous magazines he applied to, Nature and Science, declined to publish the report unless it was submitted to pre-examination under scientific commissions of paleontology.
Czerkas was determined to have this fantastical discovery published, and he next knocked at the door of National Geographic, known for its support of the theory of evolution.
Under Chinese law it was definitely forbidden to remove fossils unearthed within its borders from the country, and fossil-smuggling was severely punished, even by death. Despite being well aware of this, National Geographic accepted this fossil which had been smuggled out of China. The fossil was presented to the media at a press conference staged in the National Geographic headquarters in October 1999. An illustrated seven-page article describing the dino-bird fairy tale formed the cover story in the November edition of National Geographic magazine. Moreover, the fossil was exhibited in the National Geographic museum, being presented to millions of people as definitive proof of the theory of evolution.
The truth emerged in March 2001; no such intermediate species as Archaeoraptor had ever existed. Computer tomography analyses of the fossil revealed that it consisted of parts of at least two different species. Archaeoraptor was thus dethroned, and took its place alongside all the other evolutionist frauds in history. Darwinism, no evidence for the claims of which had been found for the last 150 years, was once more associated with specially manufactured fossil forgeries.
As we have seen, National Geographic was once a part of that very fossil-smuggling which it now purports to oppose. Naturally the fact that in its latest documentaries it devotes space to bringing fossil smuggling out into the open may regarded as a positive sign that it will not have room for similar mistakes in the future. However, if the TV channel does oppose fossil-smuggling, then it must also deal with such well-known incidents of smuggling such as Archaeoraptor in its programs. No matter how much of a violation of its Darwinist broadcasting policy such a thing might be, admitting the past and lining up alongside the truth would be commendable behavior in the sight of all its viewers.