I am firmly convinced that no theory of human evolution can be regarded as satisfactory unless the revelations of Piltdown are taken into account. Arthur Keith 


1912    Darwin Theory is Proved True English Scientists Say the Skull Found in Sussex Establishes Human Descent From Apes. ~ New York Times

A discovery of supreme importance to all who are interested in the history of the human race was announced at the Geological Society on Wednesday evening (Dec. 18), when Mr. Charles Dawson, of Lewes, and Dr. A. Smith Woodward, the Keeper of the Geological Department of the British Museum, displayed to an eager audience a part of the jaw and a portion of the skull of the most ancient inhabitant of England, if not in Europe...The remains thus far recovered leave no possible doubt but that they represent not merely a fossil man, but a man who must be regarded as affording us a link with our remote ancestors, the apes, and hence their surpassing interest. ~ The Illustrated London News 









1921    In conclusion, the writer desires not only to recant his former doubts as to the association of the jaw with the skull, but to express his admiration of the great achievement of his life-long friend, Arthur Smith Woodward, in making the discovery and in finally establishing beyond question the authenticity of the 'Dawn Man' of Piltdown. ~
Henry Fairfield Osborn




Scientists do not like to be called from their laboratory, but ever and again they are. Last week, another scientist was called out. The Fundamentalist attack on the teaching of Organic Evolution, which has reached the stage of legislative action, called him forth. He came, not to debate -- for there must be two sides to a debate -- but to lay the facts which Science has discovered before the public, that the layman might judge for himself...Eoanthropus dawsoni; Fragments of two skulls, part of lower jaws and teeth were found near Piltdown, England. They are about 375,000 years old. They show a semi-human head, an apelike jaw...If one accepts evolution as a fact (not a theory) -- and Prof. Lull insists that all informed scientists do -- what is the religious consequence? It means rejection of the doctrine of the Ark, of a literal seven days of creation, of a direct creation of man and the higher animals. ~ Time 
June 1 1925 p.16

The second of these two finds which we have mentioned occurred near Piltdown in Sussex, England. This consisted of the crushed skull of a woman and a jaw which can scarcely be distinguished from that of a chimpanzee. For a time there was much question if the two could possibly belong together, but a more recent find, which occurred about three miles distant from the first, again showed portions of the same type of skull and jaw. The skull is exceedingly thick ant its capacity much less than that of modern man, but it is distinctly human, while, as indicated, the jaw approaches that of an anthropoid. Here again we seem to have an approach toward man in very ancient strata.  ~  Scopes Trial testimony of Fay-Cooper Cole (Anthropologist at the University of Chicago)

The most ancient English human relic has been called the dawn man of Piltdown. Owing to the fact that the skull fragments had been badly damaged and scattered by workmen before they came into scientific hands, there has been a great deal of controversy as to their significance. Until the experts arrive at an agreement about this type it might be well for others to resave judgment. There can be not doubt as to the fact that these remains show a curious admixture of simian and human characteristics, the jaw and teeth being even more simian than that for the Heidelberg man, while the skull, though primitive, is distinctly human. The age of dawn man is placed at about 200,000 to 300,000 years.  ~ Scopes Trial testimony of Horatio Hackett Newman (Zoologist at the University of Chicago)

1926   Nearer to us is the Piltdown man ... This chain of human ancestors was totally unknown to Darwin. He could not have even dreamed of such a flood of proof and truth. ~ Henry Fairfield Osborn

There are many other simian features in the skull; but enough has been said to establish the two issues that concern us in the argument of this book. First, the Piltdown brain-case reveals features of simian likeness that harmonize with the jaw with which it was found. Secondly, the facts that I have set forth should be sufficient to convince the reader that when in the subsequent chapters we have to consider the size and form of the brain we shall not be dealing with a hypothetical restoration but with one that is surely founded upon the internal evidence of the fossil fragments themselves. ~ Grafton Elliot Smith


If, however, the fossil lower jaw found at Piltdown, England, belongs with the human Piltdown skull, as nearly all authorities now believe, it affords a clear case of an ape-like canine belonging in a human jaw.   ~ William Gregory 



If the Piltdown jaw belongs with the skull, and of this there can be little reasonable doubt, we shall have to abandon the old functional theory that the human brain evolved because the jaws atrophied and shrank, as a result of their loss of function through the freeing of the arms for prehension.  ~ Earnest Hooton 

A million years of the past history of man, as he climbed upward through the stone age, are recreated in exhibits and life-sized models and dioramas just placed on view by the Field Museum in Chicago... In a supplementary case are casts of the most famous prehistoric remains discovered -- those which scientists have labeled Sinanthropus (the Peking man), Pithecanthropus erectus (Java ape man), Eoanthroupus (Piltdown man), and Homo heidelbergensis (the Heidelberg man)... The eight groups have no counterpart in any other museum of the world, and leading anthropologists including such eminent authorities as Sir Arthur Keith and Prof. G. Elliott Smith of England, the Abbe Henri Breuil of France, and others
, have pronounced them the finest restorations of prehistoric men ever made. These and other scientists of both the United States and Europe cooperated with Field Museum in the preparation of this hall which presents the most complete, accurate and interesting picture that present knowledge permits of the lives, cultures and physical characters of prehistoric races. ~ Science News Letter  August 5 1933  p.85,87



Between the years 1912 and 1914 Mr. Charles Dawson found in a stratum of gravel at Piltdown Sussex, fragments of a fossilized skull and jaw which were reconstructed by Sir Arthur Smith Woodward as Eoanthropus, the famed man of Piltdown. Some scholars refused to believe at first that a skull so human could be associated with a jaw so apelike, but present-day consensus is that the fragments actually belonged to one individual. Most anthropologists—notably excepting Sir Arthur Keith—hold that the Piltdown man, like the Pekin man and the Java apeman, were offshoot types which died out and were not on the ancestral line of Homo sapiens. Nevertheless Piltdown appeared to be the oldest near-human inhabitant of England to come to light, and his age was variously estimated at 100,000 to 300,000 years.
  ~ Time  October 12 1936 p.42    See also: Fark 2  See also: The Washington Post


Important light was shed on the ancestry of the human race by the discovery of the (a) Siamese twins (b) Cardiff giant (c) Gibson girl (d) Piltdown man. ~ Popular Science 
August 1939 p.126









1948    We may therefore conclude that the fossil skull from Piltdown belonged to a race which had only just become human. Its brain was still a little unfinished, and the powers of speech and reasoning must have been comparatively limited. The face could not be well described as refined, and the neck would not accord with our usual ideas fo elegance. His jaws still bore man marks of the ancestral apes which have since disappeared in all human races. He was indeed a man of the dawn, and has been appropriately named Eoanthropus, from two Greek words which mane Dawn-man. His full scientific name is Eoanthropus Dawsoni, which recalls his discover, Mr. Dawson. ~ Arthur Smith Woodward

1949    Fluorine content test establishes Piltdown man as relatively recent.

1950    In the early days of the Piltdown discovery, Smith Woodward and I had been open antagonists – enemies, I might almost say. As years went by we were gradually, drawn together by two circumstances: he and I never differed as to the genuineness and importance of the discovery made at Piltdown; and we had both the same love and respect for Charles Dawson, the lawyer-antiquarian, the man who discovered the site on Barkham Manor which yielded the fossil remains of Piltdown man.  ~ Arthur Keith 

1951   In course of time, Smith Woodward's reconstruction of the Piltdown skull fragments was most critically and closely studied by many other scientists, including Keith, Elliot Smith, Pycraft, Gerrit S. Miller, McGregor and others. To make a long story unduly short, in the original reconstruction the midline was probably not exactly identified, the forehead was too low and the braincast too small. All this was corrected in subsequent reconstructions by McGregor and others.   ~ William Gregory  


1953    Piltdown removed from British Museum

While some paleontologists have long regarded the Piltdown Man as a fraud, a majority of both British and American scientists are reported to have accepted the strange combination of a human head with an ape-like jaw as a sort of "missing link" between man and the anthropoids... If it takes science more than 40 years to discover and acknowledge that, as the Associated Press put it, the Piltdown Man has been making monkeys our of anthropologists with the jawbone of an ape, the scientific method must still be considerably short of perfection.  ~  The Washington Post

For more than a generation, a shambling creature with a human skull and an apelike jaw was known to schoolchildren, Sunday-supplement readers and serious anthropologists as "the first Englishman." He was "Piltdown man," and he was supposed to have lived anywhere from 750,000 to 950,000 years ago. Last week three British scientists, armed with modern chemistry, demolished Piltdown man. ~ Time  November 30 1953  p.83



The Piltdown affair should be of considerable interest to us as a community of scientists and as a community of physical anthropologists, but to focus upon it simply as a docudrama is to lose sight of the real significance of the episode. What Piltdown raises, as the archetypal scientific fraud, are questions about the scientific process: How does fraud work? What structures exist in science to prevent its detection? Is the critical eye that gives science its vaunted "self-correcting" feature efficient enough? Do the media work in the best interests of the Scientific community when they publicize conclusions that may be poorly supported, and then inflame anti-intellectual sentiment by publicizing its debunking, as it they weren't the main part of the reason it needed to be debunked?   ~  Jonathan Marks     see also: Fark


see also: Piltdown Illustrations  2

see also: Nebraska Man


see also: Scientists and Bias

see also: The Piltdown Plot

see also: Piltdown Links

see also: The Epidemic of Fraud

see also: Talk Origins

see also: Natural History Museum

see also: Archaeoraptor  

see also: Skull 1470

see also: Who Loves Lucy?

see also: Professor Reiner Protsch von Zieten

see also: Marc Hauser

see also: Paleo Direct

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