Piltdown man finally crumbles

in #science2 years ago (edited)

In 1953 Piltdown man, the bane of many a African based anthropologist searching for early man in Africa, was finally demonstrated a clear hoax.

Piltdown man had been the beam in the British scientific establishment's eye for so long and had led to the ridicule and thwarting of many efforts to find early human ancestors in Africa.

Piltdown gang (dark).jpg
By John Cooke - http://blog.geolsoc.org.uk/2012/12/13/a-tale-of-three-meetings/geological/, Public Domain, Link

Dart, Broom and Leakey had all suffered from its curse but now the way was opened.

The Piltdown man house of cards came tumbling down the moment a newer dating technique was applied. After a very recent date was indicate the bones were examined more carefully. All forty odd were found to be forgeries. The scull bits belonged to a modern human, the jaw was that of an Orangutan.

Sterkfontein Caves 1.jpg
By Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)., CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Dart would have the last laugh, he would say later of the matter, calling it:

"the most outrageous palaeontological fraud which was to mislead the thinking of every recognised authority in anthropology for forty years and so arrest the recognition of the Australopithecines until July 1953 "

Less than a decade later Mary Leakey would find her own Austrolopithicene and firmly place Africa where it belonged in the origin story.


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Wherever we put our hands today, science contributes there is no reason to deny this contribution, so we should remember those who are enjoying this facility on your post.

The intertangling of Science and Politics is an automatic pathway to Piltdown.

The politicians that hold the purse strings to billions of dollars of research funding often require a specific result from scientists. Unfortunately too many are willing to oblige in their quest for a name and a nice living. The really “productive” ones are able to dress up their sow’s ear like a silk purse

Piltdown Man was heralded as the missing link, connecting humans to their ape ancestors. Discovered in England in 1912, the fossils were exactly what British paleontologists were hoping to find. Newspapers proclaimed: "Missing Link Found - Darwin's Theory Proved."

But the remains that traced early human ancestors back to England were eventually overtaken by doubts, and, in 1953, scientists concluded that Piltdown Man was an elaborate fraud, compiled of pieces of a human skull and orangutan jaw and teeth.

interesting information but good

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This is a very terrible thing

To say nothing of the topic itself, that lead image reminds me of how art used to depict science… oh, how things have changed 😔

Nice post!!!
I know we are in the modern society where dey impossible can be possible.... But I always find it difficult to believe that you can know how the origin of a skeleton or even how the person died... That's just crazy.. But cool!

awesome post @gavvet :) thanks for sharing

I wonder how many other forgeries of this kind are out there @gavvet
This is really interesting.

The Piltdown man (Eoanthropus dawsoni) was a possible scam made by Charles Dawson and / or others against the palaeontologists from November 1912 until it was uncovered in 1953.

Dawson claimed that he had found a hominid skull in the Piltdown excavation area, near Uckfield in Sussex in England, and gave him the Latin name as listed above (meaning "Dawson Man Dusk"). This discovery is considered by British palentologists as a key to the relationship between apes and humans, due to the presence of cranium (part of the bone wrapped in the brain) that resembles humans and jaw-shaped jaws. Many doubted this discovery until the second discovery (Piltdown II) was published in 1915. Nevertheless, it is increasingly difficult for scholars to find similarities between Piltdown Man with other original hominid findings and Piltdown Man almost to be said to have been ignored by the experts in the late 1930s. After passing the florin absorption test in 1949 and the resurrection of the land in Piltdown, Piltdown Man was finally declared a fraud on November 21, 1953.

Piltdown man turns out to be (literally) half-ape, half-human: it consists of a medieval human skull, his lower jaw derived from an orangutan from Borneo (Indonesia) and his teeth fossils from chimpanzees. Age was disguised by staining his bones with iron and chromic acid solution.

There are two reasons why this fraud can last for 40 years. First, he satisfied the Europeans' desire for the earliest human beings to be from Eurasia, and secondly, the Englishman also wanted a "first man from England" after the discovery of early humans in France and Germany (Neanderthal Man). It is this jealousy that causes the fake skull and jaw to be kept and avoided from the public eye.

Wow! you're an expert!!
Are you an anthropologist?
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Something amazing that I can get from your post @gavvet
Past history shows us a very remarkable incident from the past until now both events In 1953 as well as other events around the world about early humans there has not been anything that shows a clue that is capable of giving a science I just taru about Piltdown man may many things must be an understanding that is able to prove from the results of research that has been done and this as a reference for a change.
Thank's for you @gavvet

we win together

see you on the top!!!

That skull is weird. I thought it's made by plastic but I guess not :)

good job my friend

There is always an unfair way. And there is a great temptation to go for it. As in this case. Scientists were so eager for sensation that they went to such a huge hoax, presenting the skull of a modern man with a jaw orangutan. But their hypotheses were correct, the remains of ancient man were really in Africa. And instead of running a Scam, they just had to keep looking. Again and again to look, to think and not to give up. As it turned out with Marie. Yes, she honestly commanded in his searching for. And luck came to it. the remains of ancient human ancestors were found. The hypothesis was confirmed. Thank you for your interesting work.

I have learned about this story where they just forged the skull to make it look like it belonged to a "missing link" between humans and apes. @gavvet but later was found just a forgery by tests and examinations.

Great historic content.
Thanks for educating us.

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Thank you my friend. @gavvet

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