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From Piltdown man to global warming February 19, 2010

Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
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From Piltdown man to global warming

By Susan Martinuk
Calgary Herald, February 19, 2010

1912. The scene is a gravel pit in a small English village named Piltdown. A workman makes a grisly discovery of what appears to be a fossilized skull and jawbone. He subsequently passes the bone fragments to a local amateur paleontologist who determines them to be the jaw of an ape and the skull of a man. In other words, he had stumbled upon the long sought-after evolutionary missing link — a creature that is half-man and half-ape.

At least, that’s how it appeared. It wasn’t until 40 years later, after the discovery had greatly influenced the study of evolutionary theory, that it was revealed to be a hoax. The fossil was half-man and half-ape, but the jawbone of an orangutan had been deliberately combined with a human skull. So much for Piltdown Man.

Sometimes scientists make mistakes, get taken in by hoaxes or by data carefully crafted by overly-ambitious scientists. Sometimes the media takes science out of context to create a scientific theory that didn’t even exist.

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