Behind closed doors: What the Piltdown Man hoax from 1912 can teach science today
May 5, 2017
(THE CONVERSATION) In 1912, Charles Dawson, an amateur archaeologist in England, claimed he’d made one of the most important fossil discoveries ever. Ultimately, however, his “Piltdown Man” proved to be a hoax. By cleverly pairing a human skull with an orangutan’s jaw – stained to match and give the appearance of age – a mysterious forger duped the scientific world.
In the decades between the find’s unearthing and the revelation it was fraudulent, people in the United States and around the world learned about Piltdown Man as a “missing link” connecting ape and man. Newspap...