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Jennifer Rosenberg

Who's Responsible for the Piltdown Man Hoax?

By January 3, 2013

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Back in 1912, an amazing discovery was made -- proof of the "missing link" had been found when a skull was uncovered in Piltdown, England by amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson. Unfortunately, it wasn't until 40 years later that scientists finally realized that "Piltdown Man" was actually a hoax. The skull was not 500,000 years old, as at first thought; rather, the skull fragments were from a modern human and that the jawbone was from an ape, most likely an orangutan. Both had been stained to look old.

So, who perpetrated this scientific hoax? Of course a lot of evidence points to Charles Dawson, but many people believe there were others involved as well -- perhaps even famous author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

A hundred years after the hoax, a group of researchers are renewing their efforts to discover the facts and details surrounding the Piltdown Man Hoax, including reexamining the skull and jawbone and combing through the archives, in the hopes of finding out who was responsible and why they did it. The Washington Post has more about this renewed search.


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