The Piltdown Hoax Perpetrator: Charles Dawson the Prime Suspect In this Crime against Anthropology

The Piltdown Hoax Perpetrator: Charles Dawson the Prime Suspect In this Crime against Anthropology

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Humanity became fascinated with the idea of evolution with the work of Charles Darwin and the Scientific Revolution. People began hunting for fossils that would prove that man had an ape derived ancestry (Weiner, 1955). After various years of searching, a piece of physical evidence was found in England that was said to confirm the theory of evolution (Weiner, 1955).This confirmation came from Charles Dawson’s discoveries from 1908, that were announced publicly in 1912 (Thackeray, 2011). Dawson was believed to have found the fossil remains of the “missing link” between ape and human evolution, the reconstructed skull of Piltdown man (Augustine, 2006). The material was found in stratigraphical evidence and animal remains that were, at the time, adequate enough to confirm the antiquity of the remains (Weiner, 1955). In 1915, another specimen, Piltdown man II, was found further proving this theory (Augustine, 2006). However, this was merely a hoax proven by fluorine relative dating in 1953; the artifacts and bone fragments discovered turned out to be altered to fit the proposed scenario (Augustine, 2006). The skull found was actually composed of a human braincase that was younger than the complimentary orangutan lower jaw (Falk, 2011). Both sections of the skull had been stained to appear to be from the same person of the same age (Falk, 2011).The perpetrator of this act was never caught and there are many theories proposed for the motive of this hoax (Augustine, 2006). Many people have been taken into consideration for this crime, such as Chardin, Woodward, Hinton, and Dawson (Augustine, 2006). Nevertheless, the evidence that proves that Dawson is guilty of this crime against anthropology is quite substantial compared to the evidence...


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...6. THE PILTDOWN MAN: NOT “The Missing Link”. Forensic Examiner: 54-55.
Falk, D. 2011. Fossil Chronicles : How Two Controversial Discoveries Changed Our View of Human Evolution. California: University of California Press.
Gardiner, B.G. 2003. The Piltdown forgery: a re-statement of the case against Hinton. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society: 315-335.
Langdon, J.H. 1991. Misinterpreting Piltdown. Current Anthropology: 627-631.
Millar, R. 1972. Piltdown Men. Michigan: Gollancz.
Oakely, K.P. 1979. Piltdown Stains. Nature: 302.
Thackeray, J.F. 2011. On Piltdown: the possible roles of Teilhard de Chardin, Martin Hinton and Charles Dawson. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa: 9-13.
Thomson, K.S. Piltdown Man: The Great English Mystery Story. American Scientist: 194-201.
Weiner, J.S. 1955. The Piltdown Forgery. New York: Oxford University Press.

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