We've received questions about one of the latest so-called "feathered dinosaur" discoveries, Zhenyuanlong suni. One letter summed up the issue well:
For quite some time I had believed that bird-like feathers couldn't be found on a saurischian [lizard-hipped] dinosaur, and yet the recent 5-foot-long Zhenyuanlong has just that—bird-like feathers. If dinosaurs really did evolve into birds, who could understand Genesis? – JK
The writer then asks if the fossil could simply be a fake.
Authenticity of the Evidence
The problem of faked feathered fossils is real and ought to be considered when evaluating new discoveries. Who can forget the infamous Archaeoraptor lianoningensis, aka the "Piltdown chicken"? (See "Archaeoraptor Hoax Update — National Geographic Recants!") That fake fossil from China's Liaoning Province was hailed in November 1999's National Geographic as "a true missing link in the complex chain that connects dinosaurs to birds."