*** PREFACE ***

This is a followup to our articles,

The following is excerpted from Evolution Encyclopedia Vol. 2, Chapter 18, Appendix Part 1 (emphases ours, bold titles theirs).


 Scientists have been very upset over the Piltdown hoax. For some it was seen as but the tip of an iceberg of fraudulent attempts to prove the unscientific theory of evolution.

Dawson found the Piltdown bones, and the hoax was not realized even as late as 1946. [our note: in the excerpt below the Encyclopedia Britannica is basically reporting Piltdown man as a legitimate archaeological find. The year, 1946.]

"The discovery which ranks next in importance . . was made by Mr. Charles Dawson at Piltdown, Sussex, between the years 1911 and 1915. He found the greater part of the left half of a deeply mineralized human skull, also part of the right half; the right half of the lower jaw, damaged at certain parts but carrying the first and second molar teeth and the socket of the third molar or wisdom tooth...

"Amongst British authorities there is now agreement that the skull and the jaw are parts of the same individual." --*Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 14, p. 763 (1946 edition).

 It was nothing more than a human skull and an ape jawbone, both heavily doctored.

"One of the most famous fakes exposed by scientific proof was Piltdown man, found in Sussex, England... and thought by some to be 500,000 years old. After much controversy, it turned out to be not a primitive man at all but a composite of a skull of modern man and the jawbone of an ape. . . The jawbone had been 'doctored' with bichromate of potash and iron to make it look mineralized." --"Science News Letter, February 25, 1961, p. 119.

A sentence to think about:

"When preconception is so clearly defined, so easily reproduced, so enthusiastically welcomed and so long accommodated as in the case of Piltdown Man, science reveals a disturbing predisposition towards belief before investigation." --*John Reader, Missing Links (1981).

 Let our scientists never forget the lesson to be learned from Piltdown.

"But we have merely to remember cases like Piltdown Man, which turned out to be a fraudulent composite of a genuine fossil skull cap and a modern ape jaw, or Hesperopithecus [our note: "Nebraska man"], the ape of the west, which was eventually discovered to be a peccary." --*Charles E. Oxnard, "Human Fossils: New View of Old Bones," American Biology Teacher, Vol. 41, May 5, 1979, p. 264.

 Piltdown is only one in a long tradition of hominid misinterpretations.

"There is a long tradition of misinterpreting various bones as human clavicles [our note: a clavicle is a collar bone]. . skilled anthropologists have erroneously described an alligator femur and the toe of a three-toed horse as clavicles." --*W. Herbert, "Hominids Bear Up, Become Porpoiseful, " Science News, Vol. 123, April 16, 1983, p. 246.

 Modeling the description to twist the facts, they [our note: Piltdown man's proponents] said the (retooled human) skull strongly resembled certain characteristics of an ape's skull.

"Piltdown's champions . . modeled the 'facts' . . another illustration that information always reaches us through the strong filters of culture, hope, and expectation. As a persistent theme in 'pure' description of the Piltdown remains, we learn from all its major supporters that the skull, although remarkably modern, contains a suite of definitely simian characters) . . Grafton Elliot Smith . . concluded: 'We must regard this as being the most primitive and most simian human brain so far recorded; one, moreover, such as might reasonably have been expected to be associated in one and the same individual with the mandible which so definitely indicates the zoological rank of its original possessor' . . Sir Arthur Keith wrote in his last major work (1948): 'His forehead was like that of the orang, devoid of a supraorbital torus; in its modeling his frontal bone presented many points of resemblance to that of the orang of Borneo and Sumatra' . . Careful examination of the jaw also revealed a set of remarkably human features for such an apish jaw (beyond the forged wear of the teeth). Sir Arthur Keith repeatedly emphasized, for example, that the teeth were inserted into the jaw in a human, rather than a simian, fashion." --*Steven J. Gould, Natural History, 88(3):96 (1979).

"It still comes as a shock."

"Accepting this as inevitable and not necessarily damaging, it still comes as a shock to discover HOW OFTEN PRECONCEIVED IDEAS HAVE AFFECTED THE INVESTIGATION OF HUMAN ORIGINS.

"THERE IS, of course, NOTHING LIKE A FAKE FOR EXPOSING such WEAKNESSES AMONG THE EXPERTS. FOR EXAMPLE, to look back over the bold claims and subtle anatomical DISTINCTIONS MADE BY SOME OF OUR GREATEST AUTHORITIES CONCERNING the recent human skull and modern ape's jaw which together composed 'PILTDOWN MAN,' rouses either joy or pain according to one's feeling for scientists." --*J. Hawkes, Nature 204:952 (1964).

Link: Evolution Encyclopedia Vol. 2, Chapter 18, Appendix Part 1 (encyclopediaancient18appendix1.htm)


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