The man who never was – at Piltdown.

Piltdown-gang-008
(The Piltdown Gang)

From being dubbed the ‘Earliest Englishman’ to being used as a tool to mock women agitating for equal voting rights, the skull of Piltdown Man saw many uses. But despite the best efforts of Charles Dawson who ‘discovered’ the fossil in 1913 on 18th December, over forty years Piltdown Man became the man who never had been and was never any use in establishing a fossil record.
 
The Brits were excited to have proof of early hominids that they could claim descent from. They had been dying to do so ever since Germany found its Neanderthals, France its Dryopithecus and Cro Magnon men and Java Man was found in Asia. To cap it off, there was even a shaped elephant bone found near the skull that was promptly dubbed the ‘cricket bat’! All one needed was a cup of tea and some lukewarm lager and you could call him Guvnor.
 
But scientists from Europe and America were doubtful from the start. Sure enough, all other fossils found at Piltdown were broken fragments found outside the dig which could have been from any animal; Dawson refused to show the sites to other scientists and microscopic evidence showed colouring with chromic acid, paint and filing of teeth.
 
However it was not till 1953 that it was proved that the world had been had with a skull made from orang-outang jaw bits, elephant, chimp and hippo teeth and a modern human cranium. Which proves that there is no such thing as perfect scientific fraud…:)
 
Dawson was chief among several suspects in the curious case of the cobbled together cranium, a list that includes even Arthur Conan Doyle.True to Dawson’s behaviour through those forty years, today may or not be the anniversary of the finding of the fake fossil.
Source: Internet
Image: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/feb/05/piltdown-man-archaeologys-greatest-hoax
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