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The “Nebraska Man”Hoax:

A single tooth, discovered in Nebraska in 1922, produced an entire evolutionary link between man and monkey, until another identical tooth was found which was protruding from the jawbone of a wild pig. In the interim, the Illustrated London Times ran pictures of artist Amedee Forestier’s depiction of “Nebraska Man” and his wife – an illustration of two people produced on the basis of a single tooth! Even if Forestier’s drawing was “merely the expression of an artist’s brilliant imaginative genius,” as conveyed by Smith (Illustrated London News, 1922), it is often these imaginative reconstructions that “sell” the public on the validity of evolution.

The results were inevitable. Worst of all was the effect of Boule’s grossly erroneous work on his colleagues, for as Eldredge notes, “Boule’s authority was so close to absolute that his conclusions strongly affected paleontological thinking for several decades.” Trinkaus adds that “his incorrect conclusions were to have a more lasting effect on the image of Neanderthals than any previous work.” Yet, even today, the misconception of the Neanderthal Man is still being taught in schools. Even more peculiar is that this falsified information is currently on display in museums nationwide, and is being misrepresented as “factual” even though it has been proven to be fraudulent!

parts of the bone where the skull attaches to the jaw to hide the fact, otherwise obvious, that the (human) skull did not fit the (ape) jaw. Finally, he filed down the ape’s teeth a bit to make them look more human, and in various ways contrived to make the bones look ancient, as befits a prehistoric fossil. What is important here is not the fact that a fraud was perpetrated; every profession has its cheats. What is central to our discussion is the assessment of this fraudulent fossil by the leading members of the scientific community. One would think that as soon as this jaw of an ape reached the hands of professional anatomists, the game would be up. How could any skilled anatomist fail to immediately recognize that the Piltdown jaw was identical in every respect to that of a modern orangutan, and that the Piltdown skull was identical in every respect to that of a contemporary man, without any indication of those features that characterize “prehistoric man”? Surely, Dawson’s fraud would be exposed by leading scientists within a matter of minutes. But that is not what happened at all. Instead, this fraud remained undetected for 40 years! Piltdown Man created a sensation in the British paleontological community; it was England’s earliest prehistoric man, and was universally accepted as genuine. From 1912 until 1953, every scientific reference book and encyclopedia informed its readers of the great importance of Piltdown Man in establishing the evolutionary history of Modern Man. We were told that, unlike Neanderthal Man, who was nothing but a “savage brute” unrelated to Modern Man (as Professor Boule had so firmly established in his famous monograph!), Piltdown Man (the “Dawn Man”) was our earliest direct ancestor, as was clearly proven by the very modern appearance of his skull.

Britain’s leading anatomist claimed to see distinctly human anatomical features in the jaw of a modern orangutan…. when in fact, none of these anatomical features really existed!


Professor Stephen Gould of Harvard University, a renowned evolutionary biologist, characterizes Piltdown Man as “the most famous and spectacular fraud of 20th-century science.” The story began in 1912, when an amateur fossil collector named Charles Dawson announced that he had found, in a Piltdown gravel pit on the Sussex coast of England, parts of the fossil head of a prehistoric man that soon came to be known as Piltdown Man. Before his sudden death in 1916, Dawson “discovered” a few more pieces of Piltdown Man’s skull and jaw. This fossil was accepted as genuine by the entire scientific community, and was given the scientific name Eoanthropus dawsoni (“Dawson’s dawn man”) in honor of its discoverer. It was later found that Piltdown Man was an outright fraud. What Dawson had done was combine a contemporary human skull with the jaw of a contemporary ape (an orangutan), both of which he stained to match the color of the Putdown gravel pit. Dawson broke off the

Community Magazine2013 10  
Community Magazine2013 10  

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