Notorious ‘ape-man’ fossil hoax pinned on one wrongdoer | Science News

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Notorious ‘ape-man’ fossil hoax pinned on one wrongdoer

New Piltdown Man probe rules out coconspirators in famous anthropological fraud

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7:05pm, August 9, 2016
skull fragments

PILTDOWN SKULLDUGGERY  Human skull fragments from the 20th century fossil fraud known as Piltdown Man contain clues to forgery methods used by one man to trick the anthropological establishment, a new study finds.

New investigations of England’s infamously fraudulent Piltdown Man fossils reveal a mix of clever and clumsy methods used by one man to fool early 20th century scientists for 40 years.

Lawyer and amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson modified orangutan and human bones to resemble what scientists of the time anticipated a “missing link” between apes and humans would look like, say paleoanthropologist Isabelle De Groote of Liverpool John Moores University in England and colleagues. Dawson and British paleontologist Arthur Smith Woodward announced the discovery of what they called Eoanthropus dawsoni, or Dawson’s dawn man, in December 1912.

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