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The Piltdown Man


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#1 TomCat

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Posted 23 October 2004 - 02:10 AM

The Piltdown Plot

From about 1910 on, they found the weirdest fossils in an innocent Sussex, England, gravel pit – including fossilized bits of hippopotamus and elephant teeth, a skull that was fully human accompanied by a jaw and a canine tooth that seemed to have belonged to a chimpanzee. The skull and jaw were put together as though the contraption were the remains of an individual ape-man whom they – an amateur named Charles Dawson and a professional paleontologist named Arthur Smith Woodward – named Eoanthropus dawsoni (Dawson’s Dawn Man), popularly nicknamed from the gravel pit site, Piltdown Man.

They also found products made by the big-brained Piltdown Man: flint tools and part of an elephant thigh-bone that had been shaped into a cricket-bat.

For forty years, this very sapient Piltdown Man inhabited a branch of the tree of human evolution, featured in professional articles and books, in newspaper reports, and even in biology textbooks read by high school students. There was during these four decades from 1910 to 1950, some opposition from mischievous scientific critics who claimed that the skull was human but the jaw that of an ape, so the contraption called Piltdown Man had never existed. It was a Big Mistake.

The 1950s set up Piltdown Man as a target – almost all, maybe all, of the fossils had been planted in the pit, several of them fabricated by someone who planned and executed the greatest hoax in the history of science. The scientific detectives, among them Joseph Weiner and Kenneth Oakley, demolished Piltdown Man with technical missiles – the skull belonged to an English lady, the jaw to an Asian orang-utan. Everything was fabricated.

The question remained: who did it? More than a dozen suspects were named, the only one famous enough to be recognized by most readers being Arthur Conan Doyle. As we approach the 100th year anniversary of Piltdown Man, there is still no certainty on just who created the greatest hoax in the history of science.


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We will probelly never know who really was responsible for this practical joke. Most likely a few high placed men (in science) that didn't want to accept that the human race had it roots in Africa. Remember that people, especially in proud England, thought different back then than we do now. I guess it was unthinkable for them that the civilized people of Britain orginally came from Africa.

Your thoughts?

#2 Mr. Popadopalis25

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Posted 23 October 2004 - 06:38 AM

Wow!  That would be a tough hoax to pull off blink.gif

#3 Guest_Mike68_*

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Posted 23 October 2004 - 07:10 AM

QUOTE(Mr. Popadopalis25 @ Oct 23 2004, 07:38 AM)
Wow!  That would be a tough hoax to pull off blink.gif



Yeah it would  blink.gif

#4 TomCat

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Posted 23 October 2004 - 07:48 AM

QUOTE(Mr. Popadopalis25 @ Oct 23 2004, 06:38 AM)
Wow!  That would be a tough hoax to pull off blink.gif


It would be tough to pull that off in this time. Keep in mind that it happened in the early 1900s.

#5 AbsoluteAngel

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Posted 23 October 2004 - 08:20 AM

Tom Cat, too cool of a story! Happen to have any piccies of Mr. Piltdown?
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#6 TomCat

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Posted 23 October 2004 - 08:33 AM

QUOTE(AbsoluteAngelGStudy @ Oct 23 2004, 08:20 AM)
Tom Cat, too cool of a story! Happen to have any piccies of Mr. Piltdown?


I found this picture with google.



#7 AbsoluteAngel

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Posted 23 October 2004 - 09:31 AM

That's neat-o. My untrained eye would have never guessed it to be a hoax.
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#8 babyjo53

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Posted 23 October 2004 - 09:45 AM

I've been through the village of Piltdown and I saw a rather amusing pub sign. It is a prehistoric skull with one eye winking.... I thought that was great!
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#9 Guest_corvette1972_*

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Posted 23 October 2004 - 01:25 PM

Hmmm never heard of it!

#10 Guest_HelenaHandBaskettGStudy_*

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Posted 23 October 2004 - 06:17 PM

I think that you are right TomCat, we will probably never know who prepetrated this hoax. But to answer one of your questions, who I think did it, I would have to say  someone with TOO much time on their hands!!! laugh.gif

#11 TomCat

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Posted 24 October 2004 - 01:02 AM

QUOTE(HelenaHandBaskettGStudy @ Oct 23 2004, 06:17 PM)
I think that you are right TomCat, we will probably never know who prepetrated this hoax. But to answer one of your questions, who I think did it, I would have to say  someone with TOO much time on their hands!!! laugh.gif


Like I said, the most likely theory is that this was pulled off by a group of people who wanted the world to believe that the human race had it roots in civilized Britain.

Anyways, I feel sorry for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He is getting the blame for a lot real life (unsolved) mystery's. :P

#12 babyjo53

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 04:17 AM

Yesterday I passed through the village of Piltdown and just had to stop to get a photo of the pub sign there. It always gives me a giggle. What a cheeky little skull that is....with its own secret....


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#13 Caesar

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Posted 17 November 2004 - 01:02 AM

babyjo53, that is freaky my god I never heaed about this one
Be Good!

#14 KlaineyGStudy

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 06:58 AM

Interesting story  

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