News FocusPaleontology

The Case of the 'Forged' Letter

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Science  13 Apr 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5515, pp. 200
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5515.200

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NAIROBI-- On 17 March 2000, geologist Martin Pickford of the Collège de France in Paris was arrested near Kenya's Lake Turkana on a charge of fossil hunting without a permit. According to Pickford, the arresting officer, from the Criminal Investigation Division--the nation's FBI--presented him with a letter, dated 2 November 1998, stating that his research permit had been revoked. This letter is at the center of a bitter dispute over excavation rights in the Tugen Hills, where Pickford and his co-workers are accused of encroaching on a site long under study by a rival research team (see main text).