It's April Fool's Day, and our thoughts turn lightly to some memorable April Fool's jokes of years past. The antievolution crowd have proved good targets, primarily because of the general willingness to accept any argument, no matter how lame, if it seems to give them something against evolutionary biology.
I'm going to highlight three stories from the files:
This tale starts with the April 1997 issue of Discover magazine, which contained an article about work on Neanderthals by German paleontologist Oscar Todkopf. It talked about apparent musical instruments (the "tuba" being made from a 6' piece of mammoth tusk) and a cave painting showing marching musicians. It continues with the Institute for Creation Research claiming in a radio show in 2000 that there is overwhelming evidence for Neanderthals being musically inclined. Enjoy.
The P. T. Barnum "One Born Every Minute" Award goes to "Dr. Dino" himself, creationist speaker Kent Hovind, who on May 7th, 1999, in a packed room in Philadelphia, urged his audience to study convincing new evidence of humans living with dinosaurs. Hovind's evidence, a web site at http://www.darwindisproved.com/Archive.html, turned out to be the annual NMSR April Fool's prank.
A mysterious find from the depths of time proves our distant ancestors had high technology! Or does it? The Coso Artifact did baffle a number of people, including a laundry list of creationists. Its metallic components and suggestive X-ray analysis kept them guessing... until a collector of vintage spark plugs stepped in and resolved the mystery. This one's a Champion...