DNA analysis: ‘Piltdown man’ hoax created with bones from 1 orangutan, at least 2 humans

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Piltdown gang dark
Painting by John Cooke, 1915

In 1912, paleontologist Arthur Smith Woodward and amateur antiquarian and solicitor Charles Dawson announced the discovery of a fossil that supposedly provided a link between apes and humans: Eoanthropus dawsoni…The publication generated huge interest from scientists and the general public. However, ‘Piltdown man’s’ initial celebrity has long been overshadowed by its subsequent infamy as one of the most famous scientific frauds in history. Our re-evaluation of the Piltdown fossils using the latest scientific methods…shows that it is highly likely that a single orangutan specimen and at least two human specimens were used to create the fake fossils.

Understanding what was used to fake the fossil…and how they were manufactured may bring us closer to identifying whether there were one or more hoaxers, and why they would have risked their reputation to fool the scientific community.

Solving the Piltdown hoax is still important now; it stands as a cautionary tale to scientists not to see what they want to see, but to remain objective and to subject even their own findings to the strongest scientific scrutiny.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: New genetic and morphological evidence suggests a single hoaxer created ‘Piltdown man’

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