The Piltdown Man was a paleoanthropological fraud in which bone fragments were presented as the fossilised remains of a previously unknown early human. Although there were doubts about its authenticity virtually from the beginning, the remains were still broadly accepted for many years, and the falsity of the hoax was only definitively demonstrated in An extensive scientific review in established that amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson was its likely perpetrator. In , Charles Dawson claimed that he had discovered the " missing link " between ape and man. These finds included a jawbone , more skull fragments, a set of teeth, and primitive tools.
Oakley, Kenneth Page
Piltdown Man - Wikipedia
In , archaeologists of the world were stunned by a remarkable discovery: the skull of a humanoid being that exhibited primate traits. The specimen was dubbed the Piltdown Man, a reference to the area in Sussex, England, where it was allegedly first discovered by an amateur fossil hunter and lawyer named Charles Dawson. Like many con artists, he was already a well-respected figure in the archaeological community. But the truth was much simpler: the specimen was a forgery by Dawson, who was nothing more than an archaeological con artist. It was named Eoanthropus dawsoni , otherwise known as Piltdown Man. Many scientists in the field were immediately taken by the finding, but there were a few who doubted its authenticity.
Fluorine absorption dating
It occurs as a trace in most ground-water, usually less than one part in a million. Dentists by the way are interested in fluorine, because when there are unusually large traces in drinking water it becomes fixed in the enamel of the growing teeth to such an extent that they become mottled; in small amounts it is beneficial, making the enamel resistant to decay. If a bone or tooth lies for thousands of years in a moist gravel or sandy formation, it gradually absorbs wandering fluorine ions from the ground-water. Once they enter the bone substance they are not released, unless the whole bone becomes dissolved. The process goes on continuously, and the fluorine-content of the bone or tooth increases in course of time.
The Piltdown fossils, including a portion of the skull, a jawbone, and a few teeth, were found in and This "Piltdown Man" was believed by many to be "the earliest Englishman," and in fact, the missing link between apes and humans. But in , the jawbone was found to be that of a modern ape -- orangutan, most likely -- that had been treated with chemicals to make it look as though it had been lying in the ground for hundreds of centuries. The cap of the skull was still thought to be a genuine fossil, but far more recent than originally believed. It was big.