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This 280-Million-Year-Old Fossil Found In The Italian Alps Turned Out To Be A Forgery

Anastasia Gubinskaya - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only

In 1931, an ancient reptile fossil was found in the Italian Alps. The 280-million-year-old fossil was eight inches long, and the dark color of its body outline was initially interpreted as preserved soft tissues.

This led the specimen to be classified as a reptile of the Protorosauria group. The finding was also regarded as a paleontological advancement toward understanding the evolution of early reptiles.

For decades, scientists have been mystified by the unusually remarkable preservation of Tridentinosaurus antiquus.

However, a new analysis has exposed the fossil as a forgery. Apparently, it is mostly just black paint on a carved rock surface shaped like a lizard.

A team of researchers led by Dr. Valentina Rossi of University College Cork in Ireland decided to take a closer look at the fossil.

Due to the lack of advanced technology at the time it was found, it had never been studied in detail before.

They examined the dark material, which was thought to be carbonized skin, under a microscope and found that the texture and composition did not match the soft tissues of genuine fossils.

Ultraviolet photography showed that the entire specimen had been coated in some kind of varnish. In the past, applying varnishes to fossils was a common practice that helped preserve them in museum exhibits. So, the team hoped that the real soft tissues were underneath the layer of varnish.

Upon further examination, they discovered that the fossil did not have any preserved soft tissues at all.

Anastasia Gubinskaya – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only

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