Clever hoaxers - dubbed the "Noah Conspirators" - who have attempted to undermine confidence in the latest Noah numerology decryption have been called "heartless" and "wicked" by an emotional Mrs Amanda J Threadbone speaking on behalf of the Threadbone Laboratories (of which she is CEO), the University of Alton Pancras (of which she is Chancellor), The Thrupiece Faith Foundation (of which she is Honorary Life President), The Threadbone Institute for Semiotic Decryption (of which she is Chair and CEO) and The Royal Dorset College of Animal Husbandry (of which she is Patron). The work of all five organisations had been brought into question following reports of the discovery of a group of three animals in the Sumerian painting analysed by the crack team assembled by the named institutions. Had the find been authenticated, theories that Noah's arithmetical scale was limited to just the numbers one and two would have been "blown out of the water", team leader Dr Tim Leeder admitted.
Doubts about the findings of the Threadbone Laboratories-led panel were first voiced in the journal "THREE", a publication aimed at those "for whom two is not enough". Yesterday's edition contained a letter from Mrs Myle Iteleye who claimed that she had spotted the hitherto undiscovered creatures "when I put on my spectacles and looked at it properly for the first time". "You couldn't see them in the Unique Dorset Decryption Magazine cover picture because the barcode obscured them, but once I found the original on the interweb it was plain as day", she went on. "Three (3) little mice. I could hardly believe my eyes, but I got my husband to lend me his magnifying glass and that made it obvious". "You don't need a super-computer when I'm on the case", she added smugly.
Sources close to Mrs Amanda J Threadbone expressed surprise that The Sydling St Nicholas Sun has "done the right thing".
However, investigative reporters working for the Sydling St Nicholas Sun have discovered that Mrs Myle Iteleye is in fact the alias of a well known internet pirate Salamander who works for the notorious Bonileaks organisation and that the picture published in THREE is a clever fake. "Whilst it might fool the layman, the brushwork on the mice is clearly different from that of the rest of the painting, whilst the pigments used are not Sumerian but 21st century. We can say with a confidence level of over 50% that the mice were added later in an attempt to discredit the Threadbone scientists", writes Cy Fer, Decryption Editor of the Sydling St Nicholas Sun.
A relieved but drawn Mrs Threadbone said she was grateful to the editor of the Sydling St Nicholas Sun for publishing the findings and expressed some surprise that he was "on the side of the angels ... for once." "It's not often he does the decent thing but he's come up trumps this time", she added. In the meanwhile, Salamander remains at large.
A side by side comparison of the fake and authentic pictures reveals two crucial differences: one was discovered by the investigative team of the Sydling St Nicholas Sun, the other required more sophisticated analysis and is published here for the first time.