|[ VoyUser Login optional ] [ Contact Forum Admin ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 1, 2, 3, 4 ]|
Since 1953, when Piltdown man was discovered to be a hoax, at least eleven people have been accused of perpetrating the hoax. These included Charles Dawson, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.
The hoaxer now appears to have been Martin A. C. Hinton, who had a reputation as a practical joker and worked in the British Museum (Natural History) when Piltdown man was discovered. In the mid-1970s, an old trunk, marked with Hinton’s initials, was found in the museum’s attic. The trunk contained bones stained and carved in the same detailed way as the Piltdown bones. [For details, see Henry Gee, “Box of Bones ‘Clinches’ Identity of Piltdown Palaeontology Hoaxer,” Nature, Vol. 381, 23 May 1996, pp. 261–262.]
Before 1977, evidence for Ramapithecus was a mere handful of teeth and jaw fragments. We now know these fragments were pieced together incorrectly by Louis Leakey (e) and others into a form resembling part of the human jaw (f). Ramapithecus was just an ape (g). Some textbooks still claim that Ramapithecus is man’s ancestor, an intermediate between man and some apelike ancestor. This mistaken belief resulted from piecing together, in 1932, fragments of upper teeth and bones into the two large pieces. This was done so the shape of the jaw resembled the parabolic arch of man. In 1977, a complete lower jaw of Ramapithecus was found. The true shape of the jaw was not parabolic, but rather U-shaped, distinctive of apes.
Artists’ drawings, even those based on speculation, powerfully influence the public. Nebraska man was mistakenly based on one tooth of an extinct pig. Yet in 1922, The Illustrated London News published a picture showing our supposed ancestors. Of course, it is highly unlikely that any fossil evidence could support the image conveyed of a naked man carrying a club.
e. Allen L. Hammond, “Tales of an Elusive Ancestor,” Science 83, November 1983, pp. 37, 43.
f. Adrienne L. Zihlman and J. Lowenstein, “False Start of the Human Parade,” Natural History, Vol. 88, August–September 1979, pp. 86–91.
g. Hammond, p. 43.
“The dethroning of Ramapithecus—from putative [supposed] first human in 1961 to extinct relative of the orangutan in 1982—is one of the most fascinating, and bitter, sagas in the search for human origins.” Lewin, Bones of Contention, p. 86.
[ Next Thread | Previous Thread | Next Message | Previous Message ]
Forum timezone: GMT-8|
VF Version: 2.94, ConfDB:
VoyForums(tm) is a Free Service from Voyager Info-Systems.
Copyright © 1998-2012 Voyager Info-Systems. All Rights Reserved.