Scientist Wins Discrimination Settlement

Mark Armitage

This type of discrimination isn’t uncommon

By Jonathan Silcox

I’ve been detailing examples of censorship in science, and here’s a case I’ve been following since 2013 that has been resolved.

Mark Armitage was a microscopist for California State University at Northridge in May 2012 when he dug up the largest triceratops horn from a 65 million-year-old [sic] specimen. While analyzing the horn, he made an astounding discovery: soft, stretchy material and osteocytes with no evidence of contamination.

This, however, wasn’t the first time unfossilized soft tissue was found in a dinosaur fossil. Mary Schweitzer had already published the discovery of 68 million-year-old soft tissue from a T-rex fossil in 2005, and it rocked the scientific establishment because no one believed such tissue could be preserved hundreds of thousands of years, let alone in a 65 million-year old fossil. Schweitzer confirmed her findings in 2009 by publishing the discovery of more dinosaur soft tissue from an 80 million-year-old hadrosaur.

Nonetheless, shortly after Armitage’s results were published in a peer-reviewed science journal, he was terminated from his position after being told by a colleague, “We won’t have your religion in this department!” This was completely unexpected because he had received praised for his work and verbal support from the president prior to the firing…

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image credit: Mark H Armitage