It was on this date, January 20, 1953, that the “Piltdown Man” fossils — found in the village of Piltdown, near the Sussex town of Lewes — were admitted to be a hoax. Touted by its discoverer, Charles Dawson, and its chief defender, paleontologist Sir Arthur Keith, as the long-sought “missing link” between ancient and modern hominids, Piltdown turned out to be a small hoax that took on a life of its own – for 45 years – because the chief hoaxer died before he could confess!
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Originally published January 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.
“When a religion is good,” wrote Franklin, “I conceive it will support itself; and when ... its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.”