By Steven Romano Apr 22, 2013
In 1997, a farmer from Xiasanjiazi, China discovered the fossil remains of a toothed bird he intended to sell illegally to dealers before the rare find shattered during excavation. Undaunted, the man unearthed fossil remains from various theropod dinosaurs and cemented them together. Smuggled into America, the bizarre hodgepodge fell into the hands of dinosaur enthusiasts Stephen A. and Sylvia Czerkas in 1999, believing it to be an unidentified species that bridged the gap of evolution between dinosaurs and birds. Afterward, the Czerkas, National Geographic, and a handful of fossil experts found themselves embroiled in a confusing mess of public humiliation when the "Archaeoraptor" remains were concluded to be fake.