Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘evolution’ Category

Why that Evolution paper should never have been retracted: A reviewer speaks out

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Ben Ashby

Earlier this week, we covered the case of a retraction that happened against one of the author’s wishes. That’s not all that unusual. What was unusual in this story, however, is that the author who objected to the retraction had published a well-considered paper in which she identified an error in the original work, and corrected it. That led many scientists on Twitter and elsewhere to ask: Doesn’t a retraction send the wrong message? Don’t we want researchers to correct and update their work?

One of the people asking those questions was Ben Ashby, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Exeter in the UK — who, it turns out, reviewed the corrective paper. Here, we present his thoughts: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 29th, 2016 at 12:56 pm

Posted in evolution

Biologist critiques own paper, journal retracts it — against her wishes

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Evolution Cover ImageThe journal Evolution has retracted a 2007 paper about the roles of the different sexes in searching for mates, after the same author critiqued the work in a later paper. 

The case raises important questions about when retractions are appropriate, and whether they can have a chilling effect on scientific discourse. Although Hanna Kokko of the University of Zurich, Switzerland — who co-authored both papers — agreed that the academic literature needed to be corrected, she didn’t want to retract the earlier paper; the journal imposed that course of action, said Kokko

Let’s take a look at the retraction note: Read the rest of this entry »

Entomologist surprised to find name on now-retracted paper alleging fossils oppose Darwin’s theory of evolution

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jblsThe Journal of Biology and Life Science, published by the Macrothink Institute, has retracted a paper that claimed “fossil does not provides [sic] the convincing and direct evidences for evolution,” for reasons that they left to us to figure out.

The entire notice for “Fossils Evidences (Paleontology) Opposite to Darwin’s Theory,” allegedly written by Md. Abdul Ahad, of Hajee Mohamed Danesh Science and Technology University in Bangladesh, and Charles D. Michener, of the University of Kansas, reads:

The editorial board announced that this article has been retracted on February 25, 2014. If you have any further question, please contact us at:

Read the rest of this entry »

Authors retract Nature paper on bird-like footprints thought to date to Late Triassic

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courtesy Nature

courtesy Nature

Two of three authors in Argentina of a 2002 paper purporting to show evidence of bird-like fossil footprints from the Late Triassic age have retracted it after subsequent research suggested their estimates were off.

Here’s the notice for “Bird-like fossil footprints from the Late Triassic:” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 7th, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Toothless wonder? Paper on “oldest human fossil in Europe” temporarily removed from journal’s site

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j human evolutionA paper about a high-profile human fossil has been mysteriously removed from the journal that published it just two weeks ago.

Here’s the notice for “The oldest human fossil in Europe dated to ca. 1.4 Ma at Orce (Spain),” originally published on March 5: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 19th, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Case Western explains why it withdrew press release about Andrulis origin of life paper

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The wild and woolly saga of the paper that claims to solve “the puzzle of the origin and evolution of cellular life in the universe” continues.

Yesterday, Ivan wrote on his Tumblr about Case Western’s Erik D. Andrulis‘ paper, “Theory of the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Life:” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 28th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Chimp ‘culture’ paper retracted after authors spot errors, now has home at another journal

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The authors of a 2011 paper claiming that chimp “culture” has more to do with local habitats than with where the chimps live have retracted it after finding mistakes in their work.

Here’s the notice for the paper, “Variation in chimpanzee ‘culture’ is predicted by local ecology, not geography:” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 18th, 2012 at 9:30 am

A flying what? Symbiosis retracts paper claiming new species arise from accidental mating

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In 2009, Donald Williamson made what many biologists said was an extraordinary claim: The reason caterpillars become butterflies is that two different species accidentally mated with one another. As Brendan Borrell explained at the time in Scientific American: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

November 2nd, 2011 at 9:30 am