Discovery at Piltdown
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
It must have been a very exciting meeting of the Geological Society of London in December 1912. Charles Dawson was presenting a paper concerning a skull that he said had been found at a gravel pit in Sussex, England. The skull appeared to be half human half ape. The prevailing opinion of the time, as it is today, was that apes and humans had a common ancestor from which they had all evolved. Dawson’s colleague, Arthur Smith Woodward, claimed at the same meeting that the find was that of the fabled missing link between apes and humans. Thus began the legend of Piltdown Man.
The gravel pits at Piltdown, Sussex, yielded a number of finds along with the skull. These finds in total were sufficient to convince the scientific establishment of the truth of the find. But in 1953, an extensive investigation of the skull indicated that the cranium was that of a human who had died about 600 years ago while the jaw was that of an orangutan. Tests revealed that these fragments had been artificially aged with various chemicals.
Today, Piltdown Man is the textbook example of a scientific fraud. However, we should remember that the skull was considered to be genuine for over 40 years.
The history of Piltdown Man is well worth studying. How many of today’s evolutionary “proofs” will turn out not to be what they appear? Throughout all this, God’s word remains the same, and remains true.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that Your word is always true. Help us to trust Your word even when the world is against us and ridicules our belief. Amen.
Ref: Bowden, M. (1978), Ape Men: Fact or Fallacy, (Sovereign Publications). Image: Public Domain.
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