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A Science Odyssey: People and Discoveries: Piltdown Man is revealed as fake

Piltdown Man: Britain's Greatest Hoax Reconstruction of the 'Piltdown Man' skull, on show at the Natural History Museum in 1953

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The Piltdown Man was a hoax in which bone fragments were presented as the fossilised remains of a previously unknown early human. These fragments consisted of parts of a skull and jawbone, said to have been collected in 1912 from a gravel pit at Piltdown, East Sussex, England.


21 November 1953 - Supposedly one of the greatest finds of the 20th century, the Piltdown Man is exposed as a hoax by the Natural History Museum. The Piltdown Man was initially discovered in 1912 by Charles Dawson in Pleistocene, East Sussex. Until being discovered as a hoax 40 years later it was believed to be one of the most important fossils to link humans and apes. #HistSci © Maurice Ambler/Picture Post/Getty Images