This page has been laid out so that it can be read sequentially or so that you can skip around in it using links. The principal arguments for Doyle as the culprit are circumstantial and literary; it has been argued that The Lost World describes the execution of the hoax in veiled terms. Other evidence referred to by Matthews included Hinton s correspondence after the hoax was exposed and subsequent conversations in which Hinton obliquely included himself in a small list of suspects. However this cannot be the source of the number 500 since The Piltdown Papers appeared well after Parker s pamphlet and Millar s book. Incompetence Although the team had excellent credentials none was truly competent in dealing with hominid fossils; their expertise lay elsewhere. It was salted from time to time with fossils to be found. The canine tooth was painted after staining, probably with Van Dyke brown. Each section is headed by a list of links to the other sections. In November 1953, authorities of the British Natural History Museum announced these findings and publicly called Piltdown Man a fraud. The provenance of many of bones used in the construction of the Piltdown specimens has been established; some were not at all readily available. Millar argues that Smith was the culprit. One page contains the full bibliography; the other contains an overview, including material on whodunit theories which is more thorough than the coverage here. (Later, carbon-dating technology showed that the skull was actually no more than 600 years old. This is normal practice for rare and valuable fossils. The hoaxer had to have good reason to believe that the salted fossils would be found. Pycraft, who was in charge of the anthropology section which dealt with fossil humanity, was an ornithologist.
At first sight it would seem that Dawson must have been guilty since he made the initial find of the first two skull fragments. I do not think that Gould s assessment of motive stands up well. Features that might have exposed the hoax didn t get caught because of small errors in procedure. When Millar discussed the possibility of Smith with Oakley, Oakley was not surprised. David Waterston of King s College, the French paleontologists Marcellin Boule and Ernest Robert Lenoir, Gerrit Miller, curator of mammals at the Smithsonian, and Professor Ales Hrdlicka. The importance of careful establishment of the provenance of fossils was not appreciated. It should be remembered that, at the time of Piltdown finds, there were very few early hominid fossils; Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens were clearly fairly late. Woodward generally escaped suspicion; however Drawhorn made a strong case against him in 1994. There are brief biographies and a bibliography with internal links to them through out the text. Although a strong case against Woodward can be made it is not definite. In a debate staged by the Linnaean Society in March 1997 as part of National Science Week he argued the case for Arthur Conan Doyle and against the case for Hinton. 500 items of correspondence between Piltdown principals. In the period 1930-1950 Piltdown man was increasingly marginalized and by 1950 was, by and large, simply ignored. Back to perpetrator list Was Martin Hinton the perpetrator. Marston mounted major attacks on the interpretation of the Piltdown fossils as being from a single animal. Spencer and Keith s works have extensive references and bibliographies of the primary research literature.
In 1925 Edmonds had pointed out that Dawson was in error in his geological dating of the Piltdown gravels: they were younger than Dawson had assumed. Meeting Theoretical Expectations As Hammond points out, a key reason why the hoax succeeded was because it fit in very well with the theories of the time. Back to myths and misconceptions 500 doctoral dissertations were written on Piltdown man This claim appears in creationist sources.. There are no references to any doctoral dissertations. He was the original person to seriously search for fossils in the Piltdown quarry. s Geological Society, amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson and Arthur Smith Woodward of the British Museum announced findings that caused a sensation around the world. Langham was initially attracted to Ronald Millar s hypothesis that the forger was Grafton Elliot Smith; however he later dropped this hypothesis and settled instead upon Sir Arthur Keith. Origins Archive is a general resource for issues relating to evolution and creationism. Illustration of fake fossils that Professor Johann Beringer believed to be real, from his book Lithographiae Wirceburgensis, 1726. The connection where the jawbone would meet the rest of the skull was carefully broken so that there would be no evidence of lack of fit. He was acerbic, ecentric, and a bitter enemy of Woodward and of Keith. Indeed he is such an obvious suspect (Weiner seems to have taken it for granted that Dawson was the forger) that the question is -- why consider any one besides Dawson. Millar (p203) writes: The older group of Piltdown animals, he said, were alleged to have been washed from a Pliocene land deposit in the Weald. It was expected that there was a missing link between ape and man. Langham proposed that Dawson began to prepare the hoax sometime between 1905 and 1910. Lubenow, Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Books, 1992.
The hoax succeeded in large part because of the slipshod nature of the testing applied to it; careful examination using the methods available at the time would have immediately revealed the hoax piltdown hoax dating technique. .