The Infamous Event Of The Piltdown Hoax Essay example

1856 Words Nov 12th, 2016 8 Pages
The infamous event of the Piltdown hoax is one that continues to draw speculative attention over a century after the initial announcement of the paleoanthropological findings. Although many scientists, especially those involved in the field of paleoanthropology, would like to forget the incident entirely, the Piltdown man—otherwise taxonomically referred to as Eoanthropus dawsoni—is perhaps the greatest hoax in anthropological history. Since the exposure of the Piltdown discovery as a forgery in the mid-twentieth century, many accusations have been made against various individuals; however, the mystery still remains unsolved. Despite much of the research that seems to incriminate prime suspect Charles Dawson, among others, the Piltdown hoax can be accredited to Martin A. C. Hinton given his career, access to the gravel pits, and unique staining method. By 1912, British scientists were desperate for a paleoanthropological finding that would provide the missing link between humans and apes in hominin evolution (Prosser, 2009). At this time, findings were being made in Europe and Asia, such as Java man—Homo erectus erectus. Moreover, Eoanthropus dawsoni was originally a famous finding that straddled the human-animal boundary, dichotomously positioning itself as the evolutionary missing link that the British scientists needed (Prosser, 2009; Goulden, 2009). The findings provided liminal evidence of a new hominin species, of the genus Eoanthropus, with a large cranium—similar…

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