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Cricket Bat referenceEdit

"On November 21, 1953, however, scientists pronounced it a crude forgery, the marriage of a modern human skull and an orang-utan's jaw, and decided that the entire package of fossil fragments at Piltdown - which included a ludicrous prehistoric cricket bat - had been planted by someone."

Cricket bat? - Omegatron 23:47, Jun 11, 2005 (UTC)

Monicasdude 22:12, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC) (no financial interest)

I know what cricket is. I'm not that ignorant of an American. :-) I meant why the hell would cavemen have cricket bats? - Omegatron 00:44, Jun 14, 2005 (UTC)
No doubt it was an attempt at humour. A candaidate for BJAODN perhaps? Lisiate 02:12, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
No, no. It's from an external source, and not mentioned in the Wikipedia article. I was wondering if it was true, and what would have been the motivation. Here is one copy: - Omegatron 12:58, Jun 14, 2005 (UTC)

The cricket bat explained (Piltdown A Scientific Forgery, Frank Spencer, ISBN 010 838 5225 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: Invalid ISBN.):

The object was a stout and almost straight blade of bone, measuring 41 cm long and varying from 9 to 10 cm in width. The thicker end had been shaved into a point, while the other had been rounded like the base of a cricket bat. . . Dawson and Woodward [concluded] that the object was an implement which had been fashioned from the upper part of a third trochanter of an extinct elephant and that it probably been a "digging stick" used for grubbing up roots for food . . . (p. 87)

Martin Hinton is credited with carving the cricket-bat:

Cricket bat image at:

The cricket bat reference comes from a follow up paper by Dawson and Woodward in 1915. The authors themselves are not responsible, as the comment was made in a 'Discussion' section at the end of the paper, recording the thoughts of scientists present at the original reading of the paper. 'Mr Reginald Smith' is recorded as saying "he could not imagine any use for an implement that looked like part of a cricket-bat" (p148). Whilst this comment is telling of how English-centric the scientists' studying Piltdown were in their thinking, it should be noted that no one ever said that they actually thought it was a cricket bat. Dawson, C. and Woodward, A.S. (1915) “On a Bone Implement from Piltdown (Sussex).” Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 71:144-149. Carl weathers bicep 15:07, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

WRONG! There was a TV documentary about Piltdown man which stated exactly that - those who did not fall for the hoax labeled the object a cricket bat. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:24, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

If your "WRONG" statement was directed at my comment, then feel free to go ahead and check my references. Its right there in the 1915 paper. Not to dispute your expertise or anything, what with you have watched a documentary about Piltdown Man once. --Carl weathers bicep (talk) 15:54, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Comment 2Edit

I have removed the following sentence from the Exposure section:

Perhaps the most ridiculous revelation was that an "artifact" near the bones which was believed by the scientists to be a tool or a part of the skeleton, but later turned out to be a cricket bat.

It is entirely untrue that this item "turned out to be a cricket bat" - it was a fake prehistoric artifact carved out of bone. Nor was it ever believed to be part of the skeleton.

I cannot help wondering whether this anonymous addition was really made in good faith. It would imply that the scientists who examined the finds and believed them to be genuine, were not just gullible or careless, but staggeringly incompetant. Could it be a subtle creationist dig - an attempt to imply that scientists are prepared to overlook obviously bogus evidence as part of some grand "pro-evolution" conspiricy? --TomH 02:54, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

It is entirely true that it was a cricket bat. See, for example, the recent TV documnetary mentioned below (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 01:35, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

The issue isn't the "cricket bat" but that the text suggested doesn't feel creditable; cricket bats are made of wood so unlikely to be confused as being part of the skeleton. As a tool, then that is creditable as some willow wood carved to appear as an older artefact could be a viable trick especially given how willow wood rots. The text "most ridiculous revelation" though seems to be conjecture as it would appear to me that the re-profiling of the skeleton itself would always be the most ridiculous. Who claims it the "most ridiculous revelation" ?, who says it was thought to be part of the skeleton ? Ttiotsw (talk) 02:20, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
How dense can evolutionists get? The fact that wood should not be mistaken for bone is exactly why the cricket bat is the "most ridiculous" aspect of this hoax. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:29, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, as everyone knows, TV documentaries are an entirely trustworthy source of information. (talk) 22:52, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Do we actually have a direct quote of the documentary? And what documentary was it? When was it broadcast? That some critics at the time teased advocates of Piltdown about the "cricket bat" shaped object does not at all prove that what was found *was* a cricket bat! Here is a quote from Smith-Woodwood in The Earliest Englishman, p.44:

... I stopped his work, and searching the spot with my hands, pulled out a heavy blade of bone of which he had damaged the end. It was much covered up with very sticky yellow clay, and was so large as to excite our curiosity. We therefore washed it at once, and were surprised to find that the damaged end had been shaped by man and looked rather like the end of a cricket-bat; we also noticed that the other end had been broken across, and we thought it must have been cracked by the weight of the gravel under which it was originally buried.

on p.45 are two drawings of the "tool", and they do indeed resemble the wedge of a cricket bat. Smith-Woodward surmises that they are made of bone from an elephant. He says (p.47): " We cannot guess for what purpose it was made or how it was used... On the whole, it suggests a digging stick... Although no wooden tools have been preserved in the Piltdown gravel, there can be no doubt that the man who made the bone tool just described was accustomed to work in wood. The method of shaping the bone suggests work in wood." Indeed! It does look like a hoaxer's joke. But do we have a reference for the notion that it wasn't bone but was indeed wood? --Dannyno (talk) 09:50, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

I researched Piltdown pretty throughly a few years back, relying on the original material rather than an unnamed documentary, and never came across anything that suggested the 'cricket bat' wasn't simply a bone implement that resembled a cricket bat. As far as I am aware no one ever seriously suggested that it was a cricket bat (see my reference in discussion above) --Carl weathers bicep (talk) 16:01, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Comment 3Edit

Who was Martin Hinton and what could have been his motive in perpetrating the hoax? Bastie 00:55, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

Comment 4Edit

Just a couple of points.

Firstly, I seem to remember reading that Dawson had a history of faking. This was in connection with the sighting and recording of rare birds in Sussex, I believe.

Secondly, The Piltdown forgery was technically extremely poor. Its genius was in offering the experts exactly what the wanted, evidence that human evolution was brain-led. It was also a British fossil man, the French had theirs, the Gemans had theirs and even the Chinese (horror of horrors!) had theirs, so where was the British one? It was all so unfair. Because it gave them what they wanted the people who were taken in by the Piltdown forgery were prepared to ignore all of the rules that normally apply to any sort of evidence.

Thirdly, one big problem that fakers have is where one thing joins another, in this case the area where the jaw joined the skull. The faker solved this problem by simply breaking off the terminals of the jaw. It was pointed out at the time that this must cast doubts on the integrity of the specimen, but these objections were made in the main by foreigners, whose opinions, by definition, did not count. Happy days.

Regards, Nick. --Nick 11:10, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Creationist funEdit

From the article, at the end of a section:

Although now clearly discredited, Piltdown Man is a bit of a cause célèbre for creationists, who claim it shows evidence of corruption in the scientific community, and points to the possibility that other hominid fossils are hoaxes.

I think this needs to be fleshed out with some common sense reasons that this is not evidence against evolution. First of all, the hoax was perpetrated by one or a few people and discovered and outed by the scientific community as a whole. Modern theories of hominid descent (obviously) do not rely on this "fossil" and thus are unaffected. In addition, the number of hoaxes in the history of biology pales in comparison to the number of hoaxes and just plain outright lies in the creationist and intelligent design movement. --Cyde Weys votetalk 13:50, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

It may not be constructive to get involved with such a project unless it is kept attached to significant publications that can be verified and cited. The first example I found online was : Time Magazine’s New Ape-Man by James Perloff (2001). I'm not sure that this is a great example; is it at all significant? Maybe the thing to do is search harder in an attempt to find the best example where we can cite a published article that was an attempt to use the Piltdown hoax to call into question other hominid fossils AND where there is a published rebuttal of that article. The Piltdown Man article could then describe that pair of published articles. --JWSchmidt 14:59, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

I don't think we should be waging the evolution v. creationist war here, the following might be fair to both sides of the argument:

Now clearly exposed as a fake, the Piltdown skull has been taken up by advocates of creationism who claim the forgery exposes corruption in the scientific community and points to the possibility that all existing specimens of fossil hominids are forgeries, thus weakening the case made for human evolution. The advocates of human evolution counter the creationists' claim by pointing out that the Piltdown hoax was exposed by the members of the same scientific community whom they, the creationists, accuse of corruption.

Regards, Nick. --Nick 15:39, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

What is a source for, "The advocates of human evolution counter the creationists' claim by pointing out that the Piltdown hoax was exposed by the members of the same scientific community whom they, the creationists, accuse of corruption"? --JWSchmidt 16:24, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Everything you need to know about Piltdown man is at TalkOrigins, including scientists' rebuttals to the claims of creationists. --Cyde Weys votetalk 16:38, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but that webpage did not satisfy me. That page has the following statement, "It has been argued that this is a good example of science correcting its errors," apparently written by Richard Harter. I'm not sure that a website for a discussion group is a very authoritative source. It does not appear to support the statement, "The advocates of human evolution counter the creationists' claim by pointing out that the Piltdown hoax was exposed by the members of the same scientific community whom they, the creationists, accuse of corruption." --JWSchmidt 17:32, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
It appears so to me. The site very thoroughly documents how the forgery was discovered and supports the citing passage. The talkorigins website is more than a mere discussion page. It is very highly regarded and even cited in some college textboooks. --JPotter 18:09, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
  • How can TalkOrigins not satisfy you? It's only the number one evolution-related site on the net. No joke. It has contributions by dozens of scientists and other very smart people. It's a lot more than a mere website for a discussion group ... and by the way, is no mere discussion group. And you're right, it is a rather unbiased treatment of the issue and it does point out some scientific problems about Piltdown Man. So I must therefore amend my earlier statement. --Cyde Weys votetalk 18:13, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
My problem starts with the phrase "The advocates of human evolution". Does anything written on the website document the views of "The advocates of human evolution". I doubt if "The advocates of human evolution" represents any identifiable group that could be documented as holding a particular point of view. The Piltdown Man webpage seems to have been written by one person, Richard Harter, who wrote "It has been argued that this is a good example of science correcting its errors." Why try to make a point by citing a commentator for a discussion group? Does Richard Harter authoritatively speak for, "The advocates of human evolution"? If others have made the argument, why not cite them directly? It would be better to cite one authoritative publication by a scientific authority on evolution who has (in print) made the argument that the Piltdown hoax, "is an example of science correcting its errors." --JWSchmidt 21:59, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Quite frankly, you just don't understand what TalkOrigins is. I'm not surprised. I guess you just haven't spent a lot of time in evolution circles. You should try hanging out in some time ... you'll learn a lot, and you'll understand what the site is about. As for that document being written by "merely" Richard Harter, it was peer-edited and peer-reviewed by many other people. TalkOrigins is pretty much the best evolution vs. creationism or just plain evolution resource on the net. I guess it's not obvious on the surface why this should be true, but it is. And if you want to find a scientific journal article that deals with the Piltdown Man .. go right ahead. --Cyde Weys votetalk 22:13, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
I am very familiar with the talkorigins website and I do not have many complaints about the Piltdown Man article by Richard Harter, particularly since it even cites an article I wrote as one of its sources. I just do not think that it makes sense for Wikipedia to suggest that the Richard Harter webpage speaks for, "The advocates of human evolution." I agree that it is useful to cite an online reference that is available to Wikipedia readers. In a short search, I was unable to find a better online article that discusses the Piltdown hoax in the context of creationism. Here is a proposal that could use the current reference. Change the article to say something like: "Richard Harter reviewed the steps by which members of the scientific community came to doubt claims that were made about the Piltdown fossils(cite reference). Continued scientific study finally showed that the fossils were part of a hoax." --JWSchmidt 00:13, 25 December 2005 (UTC)
  • O.k., here are references for places where Piltdown Man has been given as an example of self-correction in science:
  • Feder, K.L. 1990. Frauds, myths, and mysteries: science and pseudoscience in archaeology. - Mountain View (Calif.), Mayfield.
  • Shermer, M. 2001. The borderlands of science: where sense meets nonsense. - New York, Oxford University Press.
  • Langdon, J.H. 1992. Lessons from Piltdown. - Creation/Evolution 12, 2 (no. 31, Winter 1992): 11-27.
  • Langdon, J.H. 1993. Self-correction in science: the case of the Piltdown hoax. In: Langdon, J.H. & M.E. McGann. Eds. 1993. The natural history of paradigms: science and the process of intellectual evolution. - Indianapolis, University of Indianapolis Press: 69-82.
I plan on doing some editing of this Wikipedia article soon. For example, there are links to web pages by the BBC and NOVA; however these are not really good resources. Both were written to showcase a television documentary (originally on the BBC that NOVA re-marketed) that was more about promoting the shoddy Hinton theory than science. Anyway, if anyone's interested I have published an extensive bibliography that is available online for free for the first three months of 2006. --TomT 13:00, 5 January 2006 (EST)

I'd like to offer an explanation from my recent edit, in which I replaced the controversial text that referred to Creationism with a more generic statement about skeptics of the scientific process. First, the text as written put an inappropriate spotlight on the Creationism debate. This article is not about that debate, but about a specific historical scientific claim. The article is fairly brief as it is and the level of detail does not support drawing out the Creationist debate. Second, the statement stereotyped the Creationist viewpoint and implied that all Creationists argued that Piltdown showed science to be flawed, which isn't the case. Third, the text implied that Creationists are the only skeptics of the scientific community and scientific process, which is also not the case. Fourth, there are other points about the relevance of Piltdown, such as the fact that many fossil dating methods were improved through the inquiry on Piltdown, and the fact that we can now have a greater trust in science because Piltdown raised the level of scrutiny applied to scientific claims, are not included here, for the sake of brevity.

Rather than clarify all of these points, it makes more sense to simply refer to the general legacy Piltdown has on the reputation of science. Highlighting Creationism smacks of a political agenda on both sides and should be avoided. Coastside 15:05, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Creationism still points to the Piltdown man as a failure of science, it's worth mentioning. There's references to the talk:origins archive now. If the creationist side brings up piltdown on an ongoing basis, it should be pointed out, as well as the flaws that piltdown illustrates for both sides. I tried to reflect this in my edit, though I don't know if I was successful. WLU 02:10, 30 August 2007 (UTC)


  • What is this section trying to say? It's not creationists who (weakly) claim PM is a forgery but the scientific community which does. A sentence later the sense of the previous sentence is reverted -- scientists (strongly) exposed the forgery. As written, the section is self-contradictory -- but there's a bit of a gratuitous sneer towards creationists isn't there?
  • Instrumentalization? Is the appearance of this word as the section heading someone's idea of a deconstructionist joke?
  • The claim that creationists are making a specific claim beyond the common consensus public claim, i.e. that PM was a hoax in 1912 and exposed in 1953, a period of 41 years, needs a cite, even before one starts to evaluate its possible signficance to this article. patsw 01:48, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Who exposed the fraud?Edit

I should be grateful if editors from here could look at Edward Thomas Hall. Can you source, or disprove, the claim that he exposed the fraud, please? BlueValour 23:12, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

Hi, BlueValour. The items you reverted were by me, not TomH. I forgot to sign my little piece. Skull with a k is the correct spelling. Not sure why you removed the little groaner at the end. Possibly you didn't get the joke (such as it was), or else you feel that the seriousness proper to articles should extend to talk pages as well. I don't think it needs to. Please feel free to remove this paragraph when you have read it. Copey 2 10:18, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Kenneth Oakley did it. He's the one that invented radiocarbon dating which dates fossils and showed PM wasn't half a million years old; thus exposing the fraud. --Indie.Bones 18:07, 30 October 2006 (UTC)Indie Bones

This Article... sucksEdit

Its... just wow. Really badly built and arranged. I'm gonna do what I can, but I need more help from people who know more about the subject. AllStarZ 01:53, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

It's not too bad down to the "Popular culture" section. After that it seems like a series of afterthoughts. Copey 2 13:44, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Timewatch EpisodeEdit

On the night of children in need 2003, over on BBC2, at 9pm, there was a timewatch episode about Piltdown Man entitled "Britain's Greaest Hoax" (I know because I recorded it out of intrest and have kept it ever since.) It presented cases for all the suspects and one of the interviewees said that Martin Hinton may have known it was a hoax and planted the cricket bat as an indicator that it was a hoax. --Indie.Bones 18:03, 30 October 2006 (UTC)Indie Bones

Piltdown and ScienceEdit

Quote: "The fact that this theory was disproven, in spite of the enormous amount of research required, shows that science is a self correcting discipline."

This is a stupid statement. One example cannot prove that science is a self-correcting discipline. Science has many flaws. It is also unsourced. I brought it here to see what other users think before I remove it. Lotans 18:41, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

That whole section is horrible. It sounds like a speech, and presents opinion. This was written by somebody who has a bias, and trying to erase the falsehood. This article is is an apology of a lie. Lies still exist in science, which this section tries to assure you they don't. Should I mention some lies in recent past? 20:45, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

I wholeheartedly agree that this section is problematic. I think it's bad enough that there are some previous mentions of the whole evolution/creation debate (which is obviously silly and doesn't even merit discussion in an article like this).
The whole tone of that section is unencyclopedic. It comes across as an apology in the above mentioned debate. You can almost hear the sound of the soapbox scraping across the pavement as the "speaker" steps up to it.
I've examined it for any possible fragments that can be retrieved and worked into the context of the article and I'm afraid I've come up empty. Without resorting to "weasel words" and without sources, there's really nothing there worth retaining.
I'm going to chop it out.
Steve Lowther 03:46, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Okay, I've chopped it out. I also took the liberty of tweaking the intro a bit; removed "so called", "early 20th century" to 1912, "ape" to "orangutan"...

Steve Lowther 03:58, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Calling the forgery a "hoax" is the onset of the "excuse" tendency of this article. As early as 20tiies French and German scientists knew that this was forged, typical for that time in science, they did not write much on it. Neglecting such a find meant more or less doubting it. The fact that other scientists, esp foreigners were not allowed to inspect the skull closely, says all. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:16, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

Phylogeny of EoanthropusEdit

According to Beard (2004, 284-85), Eoanthropus was found in rocks dating to the Pliocene. The occurrence of Eoanthropus in the Pliocene of England may suggest that this genus was an aberrant descendant of its African ancestors, which lived during the Pliocene.

Beard, K. C. 2004. The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey. The University of California Press, Berkeley, 348 pp.


Perhaps an advocate of the theory of evolution, as opposed to one disputing it, can give an NPOV account of the credulity this hoax found in the scientific mainstream as if it were "too good to check". The earliest debunkers, for example, for dismissed for their jealously of the fame Charles Dawson obtained. 12:20, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

In George W. Crile's (his Wikipedia entry cites him as "a significant American surgeon") 1915 A Mechanistic View of War and Peace, the frontspiece is a full reproduction the Piltdown Man (then called the Sussex Man; a cropped version appears in the article), which the caption cites as "the most ancient known inhabitant of England" and notes Dawson as its discoverer. Crile titled the illustration "The Establishment of Action Patterns of War." I'm not necessarily an advocate of the theory of evolution; just someone who bought Crile's book thru Amazon. (Mencken cited it in an essay.) BubbleDine (talk) 01:13, 19 November 2014 (UTC)


I re-wrote much of the article below the history section. A lot of this meant basically taking out original research and what looks like a paste and extensive summary of the talk:origins archive page on Piltdown. It's much shorter, but I think it reads better. Could still use a bunch of references though. WLU 18:49, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

what ifEdit

it is no fake? there are such opinions. why are they suppressed? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:48, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Are you asking if the bones are not a fake? They were pretty soundly classified as a fake, completely out of keeping with the theory of evolution. Any other opinions to the contrary would have to be reliably sourced, and I'm guessing wouldn't stay up for long. WLU 15:07, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
Since evolution may be a point of contention here, let me rephrase it: "They were pretty soundly classified as a fake, completely out of alignment with each other without resorting to crude tampering." That's it, the jaw (in its original shape) simply cannot be fit to the cranium. It was deliberately damaged, believing the damage would a) make it match the cranium and b) to obscure the fact that it originally didn't fit. But every anatomist of today would recognize the bone growth patterns and be able to give a rather good estimate of the amount of material removed.
Also, the specimens have been identified as something known in every case. Dysmorodrepanis 13:21, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

More sources than you'll ever needEdit

New Zealand dentist in 1937 noticed problemsEdit

According to THE LOST CONTROL AND OTHER MYSTERIES: FURTHER REVELATIONS ON NEW ZEALAND'S FLUORIDATION TRIAL a New Zealand dentist first discovered the Piltdown Man. They give a citation of: Taylor, R.M.S. (1937) The dentition of the Piltdown fossil man (Eanthropus dawsoni) from a new aspect. Presented to Congress of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science. Reprinted in Taylor, R.M.S. (1978) Variations in Morphology of Teeth: Anthropologic and Forensic Aspects. Springfield, Illinois: Thomas. I didn't see a mention of this here. II | (t - c) 05:19, 12 January 2009 (UTC)


The timeline at the end of the article includes the year 2003, describing it as marking the "full extent of Dawson's hoaxes exposed." However, in the rest of the content of the article, the year is only mentioned in conjunction with a 50th anniversary exhibition, and in the publication dates of several of the reference sources, which I would assume were published at that time to coincide with this anniversary and/or with the exhibition.

So... outside of an exhibition and books published in conjunction with it, what exactly happened in 2003 to more fully expose the hoaxes? I can think immediately off the top of my head of three major anniversary exhibitions which occured in the last year or two in my field of study - Japanese history - relating to the anniversaries of various historical events; but that doesn't mean that, purely by acknowledging and celebrating an anniversary with an exhibition, that anything new is being discovered or exposed.

What was discovered or exposed in 2003 that was not in 1953? Thanks. LordAmeth (talk) 22:24, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

I have removed the 2003 part per the above - still unanswered - question. Alfons Åberg (talk) 12:04, 11 April 2010 (UTC)


That portrait is obviously a photo, not a painting. Awien (talk) 04:02, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

It is a painting, as a brief moment spent with Google shows. (talk) 04:55, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

In what way is that page supposed to show that the portrait is a painting rather than a photo? There doesn't appear to be any reference to it at all. Also, the person who originally posted the image to Commons only described it as a portrait, not a painting. Awien (talk) 17:48, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
This page [1] on the other hand calls it a photo. Awien (talk) 18:45, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

You can clearly see a the detail of this painting (in colour) over there. In any case, the composition seems to be (at least to me) too unnatural to be a photo in any case. (talk) 21:39, 18 December 2010 (UTC) Also. Quote: "This is not a photo, but the painting made by John Cooke, R.A" (talk) 21:47, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Colour doesn't prove anything - black and white photos were and still are colourised in various ways for various purposes. Your latest link is hardly an authoritative source, while this book [2] calls the image a "group portrait". I suggest that we use that wording here, since it seems a perfectly adequate description. Awien (talk) 22:03, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
The Royal Academy's list of Academicians [3] does not include any John Cooke, so that scuttles the Iconic Photos blog's credibility. There is one portrait by a John Cooke in the National Portrait Gallery [4] of a style so different from the Piltdown portrait as to make it highly implausible that he painted both.
As for the composition, the stiff poses would be due to the long exposure times photography required at the time, while no painter worth his or her salt would chop two of the sitters off as has happened here, nor would they have left a central face (Dawson?) in deep shadow. Everything points to its being a photo. Awien (talk) 23:10, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
A quick Google search reveals the original painting. Comparing them side-by-side makes it obvious that this is a painting, if a rather poorly reproduced one (perhaps we should replace the article image with the color version?). "It would have been a photograph" is an absurd assertion; painting did not suddenly become extinct upon the invention of the camera. Additionally, your personal beliefs about good composition are not relevant or verifiable in reference to this painting. Bournemouth University's page on the Piltdown man states that "1915 was also the year that the an oil painting depicting the ‘main protagonists’ of the Piltdown discovery and subsequent debate, and entitled “A Discussion of the Piltdown Skull”, was unveiled at the Royal Academy in London. The “Discussion”, painted by John Cooke, was an artistic interpretation of a meeting held on the 11th August 1913 at the Royal College of Surgeons."
Hopefully this clears everything up. Somnambulent (talk) 19:32, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

The Portrait is hung in the council room of the Geographical Society of London and is discussed here ADR — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:00, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

Needs more History and Philosophy of scienceEdit

This article needs more HPS to maintain its B rating or move forward to A. Fifelfoo (talk) 07:56, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

First sentence contradicts itselfEdit

"The "Piltdown Man" was the fossilised remains of a previously unknown early human, ... later discovered to be a hoax"

That first sentence is factually incorrect because it states something like "X is Y, but X isn't Y". Would it be more accurate to say "The Piltdown Man was believed to be the fossilized remains...", or "The Piltdown Man was a hoax presented as the fossilized..." Wanderer of Wiki (talk) 18:11, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

I think either of your suggestions would be an improvement, although my preference would be the first ("was believed to be..."). Nev1 (talk) 18:18, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
Well spotted, WoW. As Nev1 says, either one would be an improvement, but I would actually favour the second as getting the word "hoax" into the text as early as possible. In fact, how about adding it to the title: Piltdown Man Hoax? Awien (talk) 22:36, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
You do make a good point about pointing out it was a hoax as early as possible, so you've convinced me that the second option would be better. As for the title, I think "Piltdown Man" is the more common name although "Piltdown Man hoax" would still be accurate. I did a superficial search of Jstor and the term "Piltdown Man" turned up 319 results to the 9 of "Piltdown Man hoax". That said, it is regularly referred to as a hoax or forgery so I can see where you're coming from. Nev1 (talk) 22:47, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
I knew nothing about this subject. When I first looked it up I almost moved away from the page with the thought it was real. The hoax part was on the next line, and I almost didn't read it. My bad for skimming, but I wasn't expecting the later part of the sentence to nullify a clear statement from an earlier part. I will try introducing the word "hoax" nearer to the beginning. I am new to this - should I discuss the exact change first on the Talk page, or just go ahead and make the (minor) change? Wanderer of Wiki (talk) 20:25, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Heh, never mind - someone already changed it. Wanderer of Wiki (talk) 20:29, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
I went ahead and did it (crediting you WoW in the edit summary) since you seemed to be reticent about it. Now, what about changing the title? I don't think either of you would object - does anyone? Awien (talk) 22:29, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
No objections here. I think it is a good idea. Wanderer of Wiki (talk) 22:57, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

So... where are the bones now?Edit

I find it very odd that no mention is made of the bones' current whereabouts. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jason Peterson (talkcontribs) 17:12, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

Find out and add it to the article, perhaps other editors haven't been able to find out. Dougweller (talk) 21:49, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

this article gives the location as the Natural History Museum, the photo has a NHM digital graphic in the corner and the article reports a news story on the NHM website which gives most of the details.- ADR — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:53, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

Which Smith?Edit

Towards the end of paragraph five of the Find section it says "Smith sided with Woodward and at the next Royal Society meeting..." It's not clear from the rest of the article which Smith this is refering to. It's not a reference to Arthur Smith Woodward (for obvious reasons), and the only other Smith mentioned in the body of the article comes later on, in the sixth paragraph of the Find section (American zoologist Gerrit Smith Miller). Could this mysterious Smith in fact be G Elliot Smith, who is mentioned in the caption for the 'group portrait' image in the introduction section? He was a member of the Royal Society, after all. However, it's a little confusing as the body of the article doesn't make any reference to the people depicted in the image. Thanks! Siscarfe (talk) 21:07, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Discussion in The Forum July 1914Edit

I am not expert enough in the subject, but you may wish to add a reference to scientific discussion prior to 1915 e.g. this article in The Forum, July 1914: Echinops (talk) 10:20, 28 May 2014 (UTC)Echinops

Need for globalization of the perspectiveEdit

I restored the {Globalize} tag, removed by Maunus. His rationale, limiting the early 20th century paleoanthropology mainly on 'the US and "England"', while dismissing other anthropologists worldwide (mentioning India and China in a derogatory manner, which IMO reflects somewhat unfortunate attitude towards non-Western scholars on his part), while not acknowledging scholarly anthropological research on the European continent at all) shows how much important it's important to put the supposed global influence/or acceptance of the Piltdown Man into correct perspective. Thanks.-- (talk) 18:34, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

I did not mention China and India in a derogatory manner. Fact is that there was no scientific milieu there that took notice of this so the globalization tag is asking for the impossible. You mention France and Germany, but scholars there were just as mislead by the hoax as in anglophone countries.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:46, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Ever heard the term implausible deniability?
If true, this should be referenced and put into perspective - how widely it was accepted in the international scientific community and whether the degree of acceptance was globally the same as among the British scientists. The article now states: Notably, it led scientists down a blind alley in the belief that the human brain expanded in size before the jaw adapted to new types of food. but also The influence of nationalism is clear in the differing interpretations of the find: whilst the majority of British scientists accepted the discovery as "the Earliest Englishman", European and American scientists were considerably more sceptical, and several suggested at the time that the skull and jaw were from two different creatures and had been accidentally mixed up.- did it led all the scientists or primarily the British ones? These are the questions which should be adressed and clarified.-- (talk) 18:56, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
It is of course true that the British had a particular stake in having the earliest human on their national territory, and Arthur Keith was by far the staunchest defender. Nonetheless it remains a fact that the belief in Piltdown by a sizeable portion of the anthropological elite made it impossible for other theories and finds (such as Dart's) to gain acceptance and in doing so the Piltdown undeniably did slow down the GLOBAL progress of science in the decades while it was being discussed. You seemingly have good access to the sources, so how about you start improving the article instead of just tagging it? In any case the globalize tag is not the tag you need for this question.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:01, 20 September 2014 (UTC)


T. de Chardin denied that he was in England at the time of the first discovery. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:24, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

Gould's deduction and analysis-de Chardin was the probable culpritEdit

Gould wrote in Natural History Mar 1979 a good argument implicating de Chardin, and despite prior sections here de Chardin was in the area long enough (and savvy enough about archeology) to convincingly plant the pseudoartifact in a place where it would be found- he did not need to be in the area the day of. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:18, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

Identity of ForgerEdit

This section begins with the statement that "The identity of the Piltdown forger remains unknown." My read is that both palaeoanthropological and circumstantial evidence now indicate, possibly conclusively, that the forger was Charles Dawson. The August 10, 2016 article by Isabelle De Groote (Solving the Piltdown Man crime: how we worked out there was only one forger) reviews recent DNA analyses, CT scanning and X-ray tomography studies that made by De Groote and her colleagues. Combine this evidence of consistency of techniques and the limited number of specimens used to create Piltdown I and II with the fact that Dawson was at every discovery, and the only one seen at the Piltdown II site. This led De Groote and her colleagues to the conclusion that Dawson was the only forger responsible for the hoax. An archival research furthermore showed that Dawson was responsible for at least 38 forgeries, such as Roman inscribed tiles and a statuette excavated by him. Catrachos (talk) 21:26, 11 August 2016 (UTC)

I too was thinking that that statement is no longer valid. Awien (talk) 23:02, 11 August 2016 (UTC)

"an example of the dishonesty of paleontologists who study human evolution"Edit

Could the word "supposed" or "alleged" be inserted here in front of "dishonesty"? The only dishonesty is on the part of creationists who quote the Piltdown Man hoax as "evidence" that scientists were supposedly lying, and that creationists are by implication always truthful. (talk) 17:38, 30 September 2017 (UTC)

Done. --Hob Gadling (talk) 09:29, 2 October 2017 (UTC)

Something MissingEdit

I'm new to this subject, it's all quite interesting. As far as the article goes, there's one thing I, the casual reader of Wikipedia articles, still find quite unclear; it is understood that the skull is a faked composite, yet the article refers to the braincase as being "two thirds the size of a modern human". Was the braincase from a single human? If not, OK, but clarify the point. But if it is from a single modern human, nowhere is it addressed as to why the brain size is so small. Are there any theories out there as to the origins of the source individual used in the hoax? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2405:6582:8580:C00:3C24:8B48:824E:B1F1 (talk) 12:18, 10 April 2018 (UTC)

Move discussion in progressEdit

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:Piltdown, East Sussex which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RMCD bot 08:48, 13 August 2018 (UTC)

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