A creationist was awarded a six-digit financial settlement from California State University Northridge (CSUN) after he was allegedly fired for publishing his findings on the discovery of soft tissue on a triceratops horn.
In 2012, Mark Armitage discovered the triceratops horn at a dinosaur dig in Hell Creek Formation, Montana. He found that the horn contained soft fiber and bone tissues that were stretchy, The College Fix reported.
His findings were published in the November 2012 issue of American Laboratory magazine and in the online peer-reviewed journal Acta Histochemica in February 2013.
Armitage's lawsuit alleged that the publication of his findings led to his termination. Some of the professors allegedly went on a "witchhunt" against him and one of them reportedly stormed into his office shouting, "We are not going to tolerate your religion in this department!"
Campus officials told Armitage that his position was only temporary and cited the lack of funding as the reason for his termination.
Armitage's attorney, Alan Reinach, maintained that the creationist was fired because the university did not want to be associated with Armitage's article. He noted that the termination took place just a few weeks after his findings were published.
"To have CSUN associated with the creation heresy — that was the capital offense," Reinach told The College Fix.
Reinach, who is also the executive director of the Church State Council, stated that Armitage's article did not go into detail about the implications of the discovery.
According to Nature, Armitage did not publish his views about the age of the fossil and simply reported that it was found in Hell Creek.
The attorney did not state the exact amount he received but according to The College Fix, he said that it was "a substantial settlement representing about 15 times his annual part-time salary."
CSUN still maintained that Armitage had been fired due to a lack of funding and claimed that it only settled the case to avoid a costly legal battle.
Reinach acknowledged that there was no admission of guilt in the settlement but he believed that the university would not pay a large amount if it did not think it would lose the case.
"The evidence was quite clear," he added. "The stated reasons for saying they fired him were simply not true. There were lies and contradictions abounding from several of the key witnesse," Reinach continued.
He said evidence against the campus officials was seen in an email suggesting that Armitage could be eased out of the job by making his position full-time.
"Not only did it not support the notion that there was budgetary concerns, but in fact suggested to the contrary," said Reinach.