The Piltdown Forgery
Details the Piltdown Forgery in which an amateur archaeologist planted fake skull and jaw bones and managed to fool the scientific world.
# 58195 | 1,013 words | 9 sources | MLA | 2005 |
Published on May 03, 2005 in Anthropology (Pre-Historic) , Anthropology (Scientific / Medical) , Archaeology (New Discoveries) , History (British) , History (European - 20th Century)
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In 1912, Charles Dawson, an amateur archaeologist, revealed to some of his scientific friends that he had found a curious skull in a gravel pit near Piltdown, England. The case of the Piltdown Man turned out to be one of the greatest hoaxes of the 20th century. The paper shows that, allegedly, the unearthing of these fragments was proof that man evolved from apes. The human brain case and the ape-like jaw fit the theory of the day, which held that the brain would evolve faster than the body. The ruse was to create the "missing link" and thus prove Darwin's theory. The paper traces the events of the forgery and its implications on the scientific world after it was discovered to be a hoax. The paper includes illustrations.
From the Paper:"In conclusion, The Piltdown Forgery was a deception with far reaching tentacles. Whether it was Dawson, Hinton, Theilhard or Woodward, the effects of this deception still cast doubts on legitimate archeological finds. This however is advantageous for both the anthropological and archeological communities. It requires science to base its discoveries on pure science rather than raw emotion. The moral of Piltdown is that science is fallible and human passions sometimes overshadow the facts. Occasionally, science does not always take the most direct route in fulfilling its aim of understanding nature."
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