Next weeks marks the 100th anniversary of the “discovery” of Piltdown Man, the missing link. It turns out it was all a cleverly executed hoax, and now researchers are trying to identify who perpetrated it.
There are many suspects but the favourite is Charles Dawson, who was a solicitor and amateur fossil hunter. He ‘found’ pieces of a thick human-like skull in gravel beds at Piltdown in Sussex, and supposedly made further finds at a second site two miles away in 1915.
In 1912, he wrote a letter to the then Keeper of Geology at the Museum, Arthur Smith Woodward, and they joined forces to unearth more skull pieces, and an ape-like jaw fragment containing 2 teeth.
Story: Natural History Museum | Photo: Natural History Museum