Top 10 Greatest Hoaxes of all time
February 22, 2007 7:54am CST
The fossil that embarrassed British Paleontology The so-called Piltdown Man was fragments of a skull and jaw bone found in 1912 from a gravel pit at Piltdown in the English county of Sussex. The fragments were claimed by experts of the day to be the fossilised remains of a hitherto unknown form of early man. From the British Museum's reconstruction of the skull, it was proposed that Piltdown man represented an evolutionary missing link between ape and man, since the combination of a human-like cranium with an ape-like jaw tended to support the notion then prevailing in England that human evolution was brain-led. In 1953, 41 years later, the Piltdown man was finally exposed as a composite forgery: it consisted of a human skull of medieval age, the 500-year-old lower jaw of a Sarawak orangutan and chimpanzee fossil teeth. The identity of the Piltdown forger remains unknown.