The Piltdown Man
Posted 23 October 2004 - 02:10 AM
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 (Dawsons 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.
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.
Posted 23 October 2004 - 08:20 AM
Posted 23 October 2004 - 09:31 AM
Posted 23 October 2004 - 09:45 AM
Posted 23 October 2004 - 01:25 PM
Posted 23 October 2004 - 06:17 PM
Posted 24 October 2004 - 01:02 AM
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
Posted 01 November 2004 - 04:17 AM
Posted 17 November 2004 - 01:02 AM
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