Faking it in Frankfurt

When Frankfurt University said last month that anthropologist Reiner Protsch von Zieten had engaged in repeated scientific fraud for much of the past 30 years, the question naturally arose of how on earth he'd gotten away with it for so long.

Stephen Pincock
Mar 13, 2005
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When Frankfurt University said last month that anthropologist Reiner Protsch von Zieten had engaged in repeated scientific fraud for much of the past 30 years, the question naturally arose of how on earth he'd gotten away with it for so long. Protsch had deliberately misdated human fossil remains, plagiarized the work of others, and perpetrated various other falsehoods, a university commission found. He lacked the skills necessary to accurately carbon date fossil remains, but that didn't stop him from making such datings on numerous occasions and passing them off as genuine to other scientists.

His bogus data had not-insignificant repercussions in the field. "Anthropology is going to have to completely revise its picture of modern man between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago," Thomas Terberger, an archaeologist who helped expose the fraud, told reporters last month. "Professor Protsch's work appeared to prove that anatomically modern humans and Nean-derthals had co-existed, and...

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