Bad science reporting

Most of us are taught in school that a meteorite is a rock from space that lands on the surface of the earth, whereas a meteor is the trail of light seen in the sky when said rock enters the atmosphere. Not so the ABC news science staff, apparently.

The same team tell us that humans and chimps were thought to have diverged around 6.5 – 7.4 Mya and that this is based on a carbon-dated fossil called Toumai. First, with a half-life of about 5 700 years, carbon dating is no use for material older than 60 000 years. Second, the Toumai website tells us that ” the geological context, marked by the absence of volcanic deposits, does not permit a radiometric age determination”.

This is just sloppiness and lack of basic fact-checking. You’d think a national broadcaster with a reputation as a “serious” news outlet might do better.