Piltdown man dating method
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A proposed species of extinct humans described from a skull uncovered in a gravel bed in England in 1912 but determined in 1953 to be a fake constructed from a human cranium and the jawbone of an orangutan.
The scam was only exposed when modern techniques showed the fossils, once belied to be around 500,000 years old, were was in fact a recent composite of two different species - a human skull and an ape jaw, believed to be an orangutan.Dr Miles Russell, an archaeologist at Bournemouth University who has published a book called The Piltdown Man Hoax: Case Closed, told The Sunday Telegraph: 'It is quite clear that over his lifetime he fabricated 38 separate dubious finds all of which seem to have been intended to impress museum curators to get into different scientific societies.In early 1912, an amateur archaeologist named Charles Dawson came across an astounding find while searching for fossils in the Piltdown quarry of Sussex, England.Dawson had a knack for finding remarkable antiquities in unexpected locations - a reputation that had earned him the nickname "The Wizard of Sussex." This time, Dawson had uncovered the most significant discovery of his career - the skull fragments of what appeared to be a primitive hominid, estimated to be around five hundred thousand to one million years old.Dawson then contacted Sir Arthur Smith Woodward, a close friend and keeper of the Natural History Department of the British Museum - the recipient of many of Dawson's archaeological finds.Woodward and Dawson quickly organized a excavation team to search the quarry for additional fossils.
Later that summer the team found them: more skull fragments and a jawbone with teeth intact.The team even found a primitive tool sculpted from an elephant bone - a tool that looked remarkably like a cricket bat.The earliest primitive man had been found in the British Isles, and he was a true cricket-playing Englishman.When the discovery was announced in the popular press later that year, it was quite a sensation for the lay public and the British archaeological community.Over the preceding century, a French paleontologist had found Cro-Magnon man, a Belgian paleontologist had discovered Neanderthal fossils, and a Dutch anthropologist had discovered Java Man.British scientists finally had their early hominid - specimen seemed to be just the "missing link" paleontologists had been looking for - a perfect cross between ape and man.