#PiltdownMan #CharlesDawson – Piltdown Man Hoax: How One Man Faked One Of The Biggest Archaeological Discoveries In History : Piltdown Man was one of the biggest archaeological discoveries in history when it was discovered in 1912.
It was hailed as the missing evolutionary link between apes and humans, giving us a better understanding of how we evolved. There was just one problem though: it was a hoax.
Of course, we had already known that since 1953, but we didn’t know who was truly behind it. Now, thanks to multi-disciplinary collaboration between experts ranging from palaeobiologists, historians and even ancient DNA specialists, we know who the culprit is: Charles Dawson, the one who “discovered” the skull and just him alone.
The research, published in Royal Society Open Science, details how the team compared the methods used on multiple forged specimens dug up near the Sussex village of Piltdown from 1912 to 1916, and eventually found what they describe as highly consistent modus operandi:
– The same reddish-brown stain that was used to make the bones look old
– The specimens had appropriate local gravel packed into their crevices
– Dentist’s putty was used to fix the teeth and gravel in place
Such a fixed strategy for fooling experts at the time points to the fact that a single person conducted the operation, said Isabelle De Groote from Liverpool John Moores University.
Of course, to appreciate this conclusion, you have to understand the hoax.