Friday, February 3, 2012

Evolution quotes #31

"The real interest of Piltdown, however, is not so much where on the family tree-or bush-it was hung, but how those who believed in the fossil saw in it what they wanted to see. Remember, that cranial parts were those of modern man…
And the jaw is that of a modern orangutan, chemically treated to make it look like a fossil and with cheek teeth filed down to make them look humanlike. Given this mischievous chimera, this is what was said of them.
'The Piltdown skull, when properly reconstructed, is found to possess strongly simian peculiarities,' noted Elliot Smith. 'In respect of these features it harmonizes completely with the jaw, the simian form of which has not only been admitted, but also exaggerated by most writers.'[1]
In other words, Elliot Smith was able to see signs of humanity in the orang jaw and features of an ape in the human cranium.' That the jaw and cranial fragments…belonged to the same creature there has never been any doubt on the part of those who have seriously studied the matter.'"[2]

[1] Human History, published by Jonathan Cape, 1934, p. 84
[2] Roger Lewin (noted science journalist), Bones of Contention (New York, NY: A Touchstone Book published by Simon & Schuster Inc., 1987), p. 73 citing "The Controversies Concerning the Interpretation and Meaning of the Remains of the Dawn Man Found Near Piltdown," in Memoirs and Proceedings of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, vol. 59, p. IX, 31 Mar. 1914

Related resources:

The Piltdown Man Fraud

Piltdown Prankster finally fingered?

Not another ape-man!

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