Gish On Early Man
Piltdown Man (Eoanthropus dawsoni )
In 1908 a workman at a gravel pit in Piltdown, England found a portion of a human skull and gave it to an amateur geologist by the name of Charles Dawson. Subsequent digging by Arthur Smith Woodward of the British Museum and Catholic paleontologist-priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin revealed more skull fragments and the lower jaw of Piltdown man. The Piltdown pit also produced fossil bones of elephant, mastodon, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, beaver and deer.
Most scientists accepted this find as a genuine subhuman ancestor of man. For forty five years, until 1953, this find was considered to be a missing link between man and ape. The only problem was that this was a total hoax! Someone had taken a human skull cap and a jaw of an orangutan, filled the teeth and planted the evidence. This fossil might still be considered legitimate today, had it not been for the popularity of australopithecines as candidates for human ancestors, which caused a more detailed investigation in the 1950's.
This raises some interesting questions. Why was the fraud so successful? Could it be that evolutionary theory demanded the missing links so scientists found them. It is often claimed that science is objective and self-correcting, however in retrospect we see that the evidence to reject this
find as legitimate was there all along. The file marks on the teeth of the lower jaw were clearly visible, the molars were misaligned and filed at two different angles. The canine teeth had been filed so far down that the pulp cavity had been exposed and plugged (Lubenow 1992, 43).
Much literature was written on Piltdown and it is estimated that more than 500 doctoral dissertations were based on this "find".
Lubenow 1992, 39-44