The Piltdown Hoax Perpetrator: Charles Dawson the Prime Suspect In this Crime against Anthropology

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Humanity became fascinated with the idea of evolution with the work of Charles Darwin and the Scientific Revolution. People began hunting for fossils that would prove that man had an ape derived ancestry (Weiner, 1955). After various years of searching, a piece of physical evidence was found in England that was said to confirm the theory of evolution (Weiner, 1955).This confirmation came from Charles Dawson’s discoveries from 1908, that were announced publicly in 1912 (Thackeray, 2011). Dawson was believed to have found the fossil remains of the “missing link” between ape and human evolution, the reconstructed skull of Piltdown man (Augustine, 2006). The material was found in stratigraphical evidence and animal remains that were, at the …show more content…
This hoax opened the eyes of many scientists; it illustrated that individuals must support theories that are proven to be based on objective views (Langdon, 1991). The majority of this hoax was not empirically tested but proven on Dawson’s word of mouth, which needs to be avoided otherwise society will believe in false truths (Langdon, 1991).
Subsequent to the uncovering of the Piltdown hoax, scientists have developed a deep interest in the possible suspects for the fraud. The list of accused is vast, four of the most debated suspects are as follows; Teilhard de Chardin, Martin Hinton, Sir Arthur Smith Woodward, and Charles Dawson (Augustine, 2006). Chardin was a French paleontologist, a priest and a philosopher that was called by Dawson to the Piltdown site (Gardiner, 2003). On one of his visits, he found a canine tooth that was later found to be from an orangutan specimen similar to the mandible (Gardiner, 2003).Teilhard’s discovery of the tooth was suspicious because he found it on a site that had already been searched repeatedly with nothing to be found (Thackeray, 2011). Teilhard reported that he was “disgusted” by the hoax and he was a deeply devoted man of faith (Gardiner, 2003). Thus to avoid sin, it is possible that finding the canine was actually an

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