Piltdown Man: A hoaxer still pursued

It was a shocker, no doubt about it. The Piltdown Man scandal is arguably the greatest scientific fraud ever perpetrated in the UK.

When the fake remains of our earliest ancestor were unmasked for what they really were, shame was heaped on the research establishment. But exactly 100 years to the week that this extraordinary hoax was presented to the world, the Piltdown Man “fossils” are back in the lab and the subject of serious study.

The intention is not to try to re-authenticate them; rather, the purpose is to try to identify once and for all who was responsible for the deception.

The majority view is that it was Charles Dawson, a solicitor, antiquarian and amateur palaeontologist from the southern English county of Sussex.

“People obviously have to keep their guard up when there is some new find,” reflected Prof Stringer.

“Sometimes, if something seems too good to be true, maybe it is too good to be true. And just because something fits your theories you shouldn’t therefore lower your guard and believe it absolutely from the start; you have to assess how the find fits into the bigger pattern.”

Full Article >> (BBC News)

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