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One of the Greatest Evolution Hoax of All Time Orchestrated by One Man

Aug 11, 2016 01:26 PM EDT
Piltdown Man
A new study revealed that the Piltdown Man hoax is most likely to be the handiwork of Charles Dawson.
(Photo : Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

A new study revealed that one of the greatest hoaxes in the history of evolutionary research was orchestrated by only one man.

The story of the Piltdown Man was discovered in 1912 and was considered one of the greatest mysteries in the scientific world. It is considered to be the link between apes and man, until it was proven to be a huge fraud 1953.

Piltdown man or Eoanthropus Dawsoni was found by Charles Dawson, a professional lawyer and amateur fossil hunter, near the Sussex village of Piltdown. Dawson, together with his paleontologist friend Sir Arthur Smith Woodward, presented their discovery to the Geological Society of London.

According to the report from Science Mag, the remains of the Piltdown Man include a large human-like cranium and ape-like mandible, exactly what the scientists of that time describe the missing link between ape and man. The presence of stone tools, carved slab of bone and animal fossil in their excavation site strengthen their findings.

However, scientists from University of Oxford in the United Kingdom discovered that the skull of the Piltdown Man discovered by Dawson was a combination of carefully carved and stained bones of human and apes. Furthermore, fluorine dating revealed that the bones of Piltdown Man did not come from the same time frame.

Dawson and Woodward were automatically thought to be the mastermind behind the fraud. However, several other were also suspected to be part of the hoax, including French Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Woodward's helper Martin Hinton and even the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Now, a study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science showed that the creator of the Piltdown Man is only one person and it is likely to be Charles Dawson.

Modern CT scan of the Piltdown Man showed a off-white putty on the surface of every bone. Also, the researchers discovered that the molars were removed and filed down to make it look like human teeth. Tiny pebbles were also inserted in hollow chambers to make the skull heavier.

The consistency of the fraudulent technique pointed out that it is made by a single pair of hand. These discovery coupled by circumstantial evidence of Dawson's search for acceptance and recognition within the U.K. scientific community, made him the more likely culprit.

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