An Appraisal of the Case Against

Sir Arthur Keith 1

Phillip V. Tobias

Current Anthropology June 1992

[243] A review of the Piltdown "discoveries" (1912-15), the revelation of the Piltdown fraud (1953-55), and the search for the perpetrators (1955-91). The evidence supports the inference that Charles Dawson and a scientist-accomplice were responsible. The identity of the scientist-accomplice is reappraised, and evidence is adduced that substantially weakens Gould’s case against Teilhard de Chardin. New lines of argument against Arthur Keith, coupled with those of Langham and Spencer, lead to the conclusion that, of all the proposals as to the identity of Dawson’s scientist-accomplice, the Langham-Spencer hypothesis incriminating Keith is supported by the greatest body of evidence. A hidden agenda emerges to explain Keith’s vehement and sustained opposition to the acceptance of Dart’s and Broom’s claims for Australopithecus : if Australopithecus represented a hominid ancestor, Piltdown could not have been, and its bona fides would have been suspect from 1925. Between 1925 and 1947 no scientist more authoritatively advanced the claims of Piltdown or more authoritatively rejected Australopithecus than Arthur Keith.

Philip V. Tobias is Professor of Anatomy and Human Biology and Director of the Palaeo-anthropology Research Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand (7 York Rd., Parktown, Johannesburg 2193, South Africa). Born in 1925, he was educated at the University of the Witwatersrand (B.Sc., 1946; B.Sc., Hons., 1947; M.B .B.Ch., 1950; Ph.D., 1953; D.Sc., 1967). His research interests are hominid evolution, the history of bioanthropology, modern human variability in Africa, human genetics, and growth and the secular trend. Among his many publications are Olduvai Gorge, vols. 2 (The Cranium and Maxillary Dentition of Australopithecus (Zinjanthropus) boisei) and 4 (The Skulls, Endocasts and Teeth of Homo habilis) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967, 1991), The Brain in Hominid Evolution (New York: Columbia University Press, 1971), The Meaning of Race (Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations, 1972), and Dart, Taung, and the "Missing Link" (Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press, 1984). The present paper was submitted in final form 4 x 91.


1. My esteem and gratitude are extended to Frank Spencer and I salute the memory of the late Ian Langham, who did not live to see all that has followed on our late-night conversation in 1984. Appreciation and grateful thanks are owing to my doughty assistant, Heather White, E. Langstroth, K.A.R. Kennedy, S.L. Washurn, A. Montagu, and the Secretary of the Royal Society (London). Fraud in science seems to have become more frequent (Broad and Wade, 1982, Jones 1990). According to Science (1991), "Fraud is a growth industry, if a spate of conferences on the topic . . . is a fair index of what’s to come in 1991." No fewer than five conferences on scientific misconduct were sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health between February and April 1991. As Kohn 11986:1) states, "The exponential growth of science and the increase in the number of practicing scientists [have] been accompanied by the appearance of individuals whose actions do not conform with the ethical standards of the scientific community." It would be wrong, however, to consider that breaches of the overriding normative rule of trustworthiness in scientific endeavour are a recent development. One of the most remarkable and most evil frauds, that of Piltdown, was perpetrated 80 years ago. What was remarkable about it was that it deceived many scholars for 40 years before the hoax was uncovered. What was evil was that the imposture was a major factor in holding up the advance of a branch of science, palaeoanthropology, for over a quarter of a century. As Campbell |199I:2I7) has put it, "The hoax occupied and misled anthropologists, stifled research, and seriously damaged British anthropology."

Ever since the fraud was exposed by Weiner, Oakley, and Clark 1953. 1955 ), professional and

amateur sleuths have sought clues to the identity of the forger(s). Some have wondered whether the continued quest for the identity of the perpetrator is worthwhile, since the exposure of the hoax effectively removed the troublesome Piltdown remains from the stockpile of hominid fossils. Thus Chippindale (1990) deprecates "yet more raking of old gravel" and asks, "Who still cares, in the year 1990, who dunit?" The criticism of the search for the culprits seems not unreasonable, but there are very good reasons for pursuing such investigations.

First, the search for the perpetrator(s), for example, by Spencer (1990a), has furnished countless insights into aspects of the scientific process and the role of honesty in scientific endeavour and has enabled us to see the events centred around Piltdown from a philosophical perspective. Such aspects are addressed as the motives of scientists and the degree to which a prevailing paradigm may influence and even dominate not only thinking but even discovery. The quest for the forger(s) has placed Piltdown as an episode in the history and philosophy of science.

Secondly, as Clark (1968:211) has stressed, detailed enquiry is necessary "not so much because it is important to know who was the culpnt, but because it obviously is a matter of importance–in order completely to exonerate others of all trace of suspicion–to know who could not have been the culprits."

Thirdly, the search for the culprit(s) has shown us that "it is as important to look at people's

theories as a reaction to the intellectual currents of their time as it is to look at the fossils which formed the basis for their ideas" (Shipman 1990:54). Closely related is Trinkaus's belief (quoted by Shipman 1990) that Spencer’s work has [244] changed physical anthropology in the United States of America for the better: "Frank [Spencer! has given the history of human evolution respectability; . . . he has . . . made us more aware of the changing contexts of ideas."

Fourthly, the investigation sheds new light on the factors determining acceptance and rejection and conversion in science (Tobias1985, 1991a , b ). Piltdown has taught us that dishonesty and fraud have to be included among the agencies promoting rejection or retarding acceptance of a new discovery or concept, as, for example, we have seen in regard to the largely hostile reception accorded to such African fossils as the Kanam mandible and the australopithecines.

These and other reasons thoroughly justify the rigour and diligence with which the enquiry has been and continues to be prosecuted.

Langdon (1991) has recently claimed that "Eoanthropus" was "merely an imitation fossil that an amateur with common sense might have devised," while Kennedy (1991) has suggested that the hoax was not beyond the capacities of one man {Charles Dawson). In contrast, many, probably most, investigators have seen the full scope of the forgery (which went far beyond linking an ape jaw to a human cranium) as intricate, involved, and calling for expertise in a number of fields–in Campbell's (1991) words, "a complex and sophisticated fraud." These conflicting views demand another look at the fraud in all its ramifications.

Although Daniel (1985) has hailed Costello's (1985) case against Samuel Woodhead as "the proper and final solution," other investigators have held that "the best case to date has been made against Teilhard de Chardin" (e.g., Campbell 1991). While Robert Essex and L. S. B. Leakey believed that Teilhard was responsible for the Piltdown hoax, it is Gould (1980, 198I) who has presented the most systematic and carefully analysed case against Teilhard, and his main arguments deserve reexamination.

The most detailed and penetrating analyses of the Piltdown forgery and of those possibly inculpated have been those of the late Ian Langham and of Frank Spencer, the results of which have been presented in two comprehensive and scholarly volumes by Spencer (1990 a b). These two scholars–one a historian and the other an anthropologist–were independently drawn to the same surprising conclusion, namely, that it is most likely that the scientist-member of the team of forgers was none other than Sir Arthur Keith. The evidence on which they based their claim and one of the motives proposed have been contested by several eminent authorities, including Zuckerman ( 1990, 1991), Grigson (1990b ), and Smith (1990).

Examination of their criticisms and of the main bases of the case against Keith has, however, led me to conclude that ( I ) the forgery was wide-ranging, for the most part elegant and even magisterial, intricate, and predicated upon specialised knowledge in a number of fields, (2) Gould's case against Teilhard is seriously flawed; (3 the Langham- Spencer case against Keith is logical convincing, and indeed the case is even stronger than present it; and (4) the incrimination of Keith provides an explanation of the hidden agenda behind his 22 years of vocal, vigorous, and authoritative rejection of Dart's (I925) claims for Australopithecus.

Piltdown and Human Evolution

On December 18, 1912, a historic meeting was held in the rooms of the Geological Society of Great Britain, in Burlington House, Piccadilly, London. At this meeting, Arthur Smith Woodward and Charles Dawson revealed to an expectant audience what was taken to be the first important discovery in England of a fossil skull bearing on human evolution. France and Belgium had long boasted their Neandertal skeletons; from Germany there had come the original Neandertal cranium and the Mauer mandible. England, however, had been barren of fossil men, and much sadness there had been over this lack. The Piltdown skull laid bare at that meeting of the Geological Society was hailed as England's first great and historic find in palaeoanthropology and as the world's earliest man. Forty-one years later, it was revealed as "a fantastic piece of forgery," "an incredible imposture," and probably "the greatest archaeological hoax of its kind ever perpetrated" (Clark 1968:210-11). It may well be enquired, "How came it that so many distinguished scientists were deluded for so many years?" (Clark 1968:2II).

There are many reasons for my interest in Piltdown. One of them has to do with the Taung skull of Australopithecus africanus and its prolonged rejection by the world of science. Why was Taung not accepted when Dart published the first account of the epochal discovery in 1925? Washburn (1985) has drawn attention to the sharp contrast between the hostile reception accorded Taung and the enthusiastic welcome given to Peking man (Homo erectus pekinensis ) Was Australopithecus simply a premature discovery, in the sense described by Stent (1972:84), namely, that "its implications cannot be connected by a series of simple logical steps to canonical, or generally accepted, knowledge"? Or was there another factor militating against the acceptance of Dart's claims for Taung? It has long been plain to me that, as Leakey and Goodall (1969), Halstead (1978), and Washburn (1985) held, the Piltdown "remains" had much to do with the rejection of Taung.

Piltdown fulfilled the expectations of the day for at least some influential anthropologists. In

his preface to Jones's (1990) Fake? The Art of Deception Wilson states, "Fakes are not always acquired as the result of greed; they are also brought into a collection as the result of preconceived theory or expectation–the Piltdown Skull is a case in point" (p. 9). As Keith (1915:459) commented, "That we should discover such a race [as that of Piltdown], sooner or later, has been an article of faith in the anthropologist's creed ever since Darwin's time." Taung was at variance with this prevailing theory. If Piltdown portrayed what had happened in human evolution, then there was no room for such as Australo245]pithecus in the human ancestry. If Taung was indeed something more hominid-related rather than an unusual ape, then Piltdown would have been suspect.

The Piltdown "Discoveries"

The discovery of the Piltdown remains has been described so often (Dawson and Woodward 1913; Keith 1915; Woodward 1948; Weiner, Oakley, and Clark 1953; Weiner 1955; Vere 1I955, 1959; Zuckerman 1970; Millar 1972; Costello 1985; Blinderman 1986; Spencer 1990a; Thomson 1991a ) that only a summary need be given here. 1911 (or perhaps 1908) and 1915, some supposedly very ancient hominid remains were found in a gravel pit at Piltdown in Sussex. Most of them were found by Dawson, who practiced as a solicitor in Uckfield. They comprised parts of a modem- human-looking calvaria and the broken right half of a very apelike mandible. He drew his finds to the attention of Smith Woodward, who was the keeper of geology at the British Museum (Natural History). Together the two men explored the gravel pit during 19I2, being joined on a few occasions by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who was then at the Jesuit seminary Ore Place at Hastings and who was later to become a professional palaeontologist. A great age for the gravel deposit seemed to be testified to by associated prehistoric finds, including isolated teeth of a mastodon, a stegodon, a beaver, and a hippopotamus and flint and bone implements. A reconstruction of the skull was prepared by Smith Woodward and his assistant Frank Barlow, the cranium and mandible being combined as though they were parts of the same skull. As only two molar teeth were in position in the mandible, the restoration included models of the missing teeth. Most of these materials were revealed to that packed meeting of the Geological Society on December 18, 1912. Smith Woodward proposed that the skull represented a new hominid genus and species, to which he gave the name Eoanthropus dawsoni ("the dawn man of Dawson").

In August 19I3, Dawson found a pair of fragmentary nasal bones and nasal conchae at Piltdown, while Teilhard de Chardin, on a return visit to Hastings from Paris, recovered an isolated, worn apparent canine tooth resembling in form the right lower canine that Smith Woodward and Barlow had modelled. Although Smith Woodward and Keith accepted that the tooth was a canine belonging to the Piltdown mandible, Osborn (1921) and some other investigators considered it an upper canine and Weidenreich (1I943:2I6) denied that it belonged to the Piltdown jaw or even was the lower canine of an anthropoid: "Its real nature remains to be determined."

Whereas Smith Woodward, Keith, and some other scientists were convinced that the cranial

pieces, the mandible, and the canine tooth belonged to the same individual, others were at pains to point out the apelike features of the jaw and the human characteristics of the calvaria (Montagu 1951a )). Among those who considered the mandible to be that of an anthropoid ape there were two schools of thought, one seeing chimpanzee affinities and he other orang-utan traits. The chimpanzee school included D. Waterston 1913), professor of anatomy at King's College, London, M. Boule of Paris, author of Les rommes fossiles (1921), M. Ramstrom (19I9) of Uppsala, Sweden, and Gerrit S. Miller of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Miller |(1915, 19I8) went so far as to claim that the mandible represented a new species of chimpanzee, which he proposed to name Pan vetus. Exponents of the orang-utan school included Weidenreich (1943) as well as Frasetto (1977) and Friederichs (1932). The argument put forward by these investigators whom Spencer (1990a ) has dubbed the "dualists") was that both a hominid and an ape were represented in the Piltdown gravel; we have no evidence that any of them seriously doubted that they were dealing with genuine fossil specimens reflecting creatures that had lived in the Weald of Sussex a long time ago.

On July 3, 19I3, Dawson wrote to tell Smith Woodward that he had that day picked up "the frontal part of a human skull" in a gravel about 40 to 50 ft. above the present River Ouse. This second locality was "a long way from Piltdown." It was later presumed to have been the site of Barcombe Mills, some 6.5 km south-west of Piltdown (Oakley, entries under Royaume-Uni in Vallois and Movius 1952). Dawson showed the frontal bone to Smith Woodward a day or two later, but curiously the specimen was ignored. After Dawson's death in 19I6, a cluster of specimens were found in his collection under the label "Barcombe Mills." They comprised two modem human calvarial fragments (frontal and parietal), a molar tooth, and two zygomatic bones of a second individual (Montagu 1931b ).

The picture was complicated when, early in 1913, Dawson reported finding human remains at a third site, presumed to be Sheffield Park, some 3.2 km north-west of Barkham Manor. This find comprised two parts of a brain-case (frontal and occipital) and a mandibular molar tooth, as well as the tooth of an archaic rhinoceros. For some palaeoanthropologists, such as Boule (1I923), the doubts they had entertained that the cranium and jaw of Piltdown I belonged to the same species and individual were lessened if not entirely dispelled by this discovery of a supposedly second individual of Eoanthropus , subsequently designated Piltdown II.

Following Dawson's death on August 10, 1916, Smith Woodward made further excavations at the Piltdown sites, but nothing more was ever found there.

Although Dawson's name had been given to the proposed new species from Piltdown, he "died too soon to be given any special award from a scientific body" (Weiner 1055:17), such as a fellowship of the Royal Society of London. However, his discoveries were commemorated in 1938 when Smith Woodward erected a monument to mark the site of the discovery at Piltdown. On July 22, 1938, it was unveiled by Sir Arthur Keith, who had been vigorously involved in the debates on Piltdown ever since 19I7. The inscription read: "Here in the old river gravel Mr. Charles Dawson, F.S.A., found the fossil skull of Piltdown Man, 19I2-19I3. The discovery was [246] described by Mr. Charles Dawson and Sir Arthur Smith Woodward in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 193-1915." In his address, Keith paid glowing tribute to the "wonderful achievement" of Dawson which he likened to the discovery of the French lock-keeper, Boucher de Perthes, who in the 19th century had first recognised the flint hand-axes of the Somme as products of human handiwork (Weiner 1955)

Piltdown was still considered fairly respectable when I was a student and a young staff member under R. A Dart, familiarising myself with fossil men and women in the late 1940s. For example, the genus Eoanthropus was listed among the genera of the family Hominidae (Simpson 1945), and Piltdown was included in the Catalogue des hommes fossiles edited by Vallois and Movius (1952'). In 1953 nine talks on "Africa's Place in the Human Story" were presented by the South African Broadcasting Corporation with Dart (1954) as editor of the series. My talk, the sixth in the series, dealt with "The Very Ancient Human Inhabitants of Africa," and it was broadcast on June 14, 1953. I compared the African fossils with some from Europe and Asia, and so it came about that I made what may have been one of the last published statements about the Piltdown remains before Joseph Weiner came to suspect that a hoax had been perpetrated (Tobias 1954):

some anatomists say the jaw belongs to a fossil ape which somehow became mixed up in the gravel deposit with the human skull fragments. Quite recently, Dr. Kenneth Oakley has found that the fluorine content in both the skull and the jaw are virtually identical and this indicates that the bones are of the same age. Of course, this does not prove that the two bones belonged to the same individual and so, even today, the 40-year-old puzzle of Piltdown Man remains unsolved. If the jaw really belongs to the skull, it is a most unexpected combination; if it does not belong to the skull, it is an almost unbelievable coincidence that the human and the ape cranial bones should have remained so close together in the same gravel patch!

The Hoax Suspected and Uncovered

Only 46 days later, on July 30, 1953, the participants in a Wenner-Gren Foundation conference on early man in Africa visited the British Museum (Natural History) and there, in the Geology Department, viewed the celebrated Piltdown remains. Among those who saw them for the first time was a Pretoria-born man who had completed his earliest degree under Dart at the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, Joseph Weiner. Sitting at dinner in the evening with Oakley and Washburn, he found himself increasingly worried by the puzzle of Piltdown. Back at Oxford, he could not sleep that night, and, weighing up all the possible explanations, came to the realisation that the mandible must have been forged.

There followed several months of intense study by him, his head of department at Oxford, Sir Wilfrid Edward LeGros Clark, and Kenneth Oakley of the British Museum (Natural History). On November 11, 1953, the proofs of a hoax were announced.

There were clear scratch marks on the molars and the canine. Both molars had sharp margins instead of the bevelled edges which usually accompany attrition or the crown surfaces. Both the first and second molars showed, unusually, the same degree of occlusal wear (usually the first molar is more worn than the second) The medial part of the crown surface of both molars was more worn than the lateral part, the opposite of the usual pattern. Although the canine was heavily worn on the crown surface, the X-rays showed that the pulp cavity was wide open, as in a young tooth, and quite unlike what would be expected in so heavily worn a tooth. Tests of the amount of fluorine and nitrogen in the various bones showed that the mandible and canine were essentially recent, whereas the cranium was older. Signs were detected that the mandible and canine had been artificially stained to make them similar in colour to the cranium.

Treatment of the stone implements likewise was exposed, whilst a bone implement in form like a cncket bat showed signs of having been shaped by an even-edged metal blade. The animal bones recovered from Piltdown proved to have been treated and planted at the site. Refined uranium testing of the elephant molar showed that it was chemically indistinguishable from a molar tooth recovered from a site near Bizerta in Tunisia but differed from all others with which it was compared. The Mastodon and Rhinoceros molars from Piltdown matched in colour, degree of mineralisation, and uranium content fossil bones from the Red Crag of East Anglia. It now seemed that every single bone found at Piltdown was an importation to the site.

Although Weiner's initial hypothesis that a forgery had been perpetrated had applied only to the mandible and canine, it emerged that the cranium, also, had been artificially stained to match the colour of the Piltdown gravels and that this applied not only to Piltdown I but to Piltdown II. In other words, the full extent of the Piltdown forgery was far greater than had at first been suspected, and the newer findings were made public on June 30 1954. Finally, there did not appear to be a single specimen in the entire Piltdown collection of hominoid bones, associ'ated fauna, and cultural remains that had genuinely originated from Piltdown (Weiner, Oakley, and Clark 1955). This was true of the specimens from Piltdown, Sheffield Park, and Barcombe Mills. The mandible was later proved by radio-immunoassay to have belonged to an orang-utan {Lowenstein, Molleson, and Washburn 1982). It had been treated by removal of two of the most telltale anatomical parts, namely, the mandibular head bearing the condyle and most of the region of the symphysis mandibulae. The removal by the forger(s} of the condylar process was necessary because the left temporal bone of the cranium was present, including its mandibular fossa, with which the mandibular condyle articulates. Had the orang mandible's head been left [247] intact, the incongruency between the condyle and the fossa would immediately have been detected, and this would have nullified the illusion that the cranium and the mandible belonged to the same individual.

Subsequent to the exposure of the forgery, several reports came to light of earlier suspicions that mischief had been afoot. W. K. Gregory, in his 1914 review, had referred to the possibility of a hoax, a suggestion that he had apparently picked up at the British Museum (Natural History) on a visit there in 19I3: the hint was that "a negro skull and a broken ape jaw" had been "artificially fossilized" and "planted in the gravel-bed to fool the scientists." Gregory had dismissed the possibility in view of the circumstances of the discovery.

A curious claim had appeared in the former Johannesburg morning newspaper the Rand Daily Mail on March 2, 1925. It was just over four weeks after the revelation of the Taung skull, and repercussions were still appearing in the correspondence columns of the daily press. Over the name A. W. Baker, of P.O. North Rand, in the midst of a letter in which the author inveighed against the idea of evolution, there appeared these sentences:

I suppose the correspondent who cites the Piltdown man as one of the links in the assured facts of modem scientific discovery is aware that this wonderful man is a fake. Part of a frontal bone, part of a jawbone, and one tooth, found in a quarry, sufficed. With these the scientists built up all the rest of a body to suit their theory, making it as like as possible to what they conceived a missing link ought to be.... Although several distinguished scientists have declared that the tooth and the jaw do not belong to the same creature as the frontal bone, this colossal fake is still exhibited in the name of modern science.

According to Oakley (1979), the first man to be sure in his own mind that the Piltdown skull had been forged was Gerrit S. Miller, who in 1915 had created the new species Pan vetus to accommodate the Piltdown mandible. He is said to have realised quite suddenly in 1930 that the Piltdown remains were forgeries but to have been dissuaded by his colleagues in the United States from publishing this conclusion without adducing proof. When C. S. Coon visited the British Museum (Natural History) in 1951, he noted striae on the grinding surfaces of the molars that looked "suspicious," but he informed only his wife (Oakley 1979). Apart from these few exceptions and some suspicions and rumours, no documentation has come to light that anyone knew or suspected that a deliberate forgery had been perpetrated. The hoaxer(s) had got away with it, and for 40 years most scholars were taken in.

The Search for the Perpetrator(s)

For the almost 40 years since the hoax was uncovered, amateur and professional sleuths, scientists, historians, and others have been searching for evidence to reveal the identity of the forger(s). At least 21 suspects have at one time or another been inculpated on circumstantial evidence of varying degrees of confidence. Whoever did it would have needed to have motivation and opportunity, the knowledge and the skill to plan and perpetrate the deed, and access to the materials that were planted.

The following summary covers 11 of the suspects named during the period 1955 to 1991:

1. Charles Dawson. Weiner (1955) built a strong case against Dawson, who had found most of the Piltdown "specimens" from all three sites. He left open the question of whether Dawson could have had access to the planted specimens and whether he possessed the requisite knowledge and skill. He raised the possibility that Dawson might have had a scientist-accomplice but did not pursue it. Although not everyone was convinced that Dawson was guilty, an overwhelming majority of those who have studied the question accept Weiner's case against him. He had a powerful motive and abundant opportunity, but many scholars question whether he possessed the materials, the knowledge, or the skill. Thos e desiderata, in the minds of a number of scholars, lead to the inference that a scientist must have been involved, either solo or as Dawson's accomplice. A1though some aspects of the faking were sloppy or clumsy, many others are so intricate and the totality, embracing far more than the breaking and staining of a cranium and a jaw, is so elaborate as to point to the involvement of the brain and eye of a specialist.

2. Teilhard de Chardin. Teilhard has been inculpated by various scholars in at least four different ways. It has been suggested that he was solely responsible, that he was the scientist-accomplice of Dawson and the mastermind behind the operation, that he planted the "canine" tooth that he found, perhaps in an endeavour to force the hoax into the open, and that he knew that a forgery had been perpetrated but was not personally responsible.

Among those who tried to draw the heat off Dawson was "Francis Vere'' (nom de guerre of Bannister, according to Mabel Kenward, cited by Spencer 1990a :239). In his 1955 book The Piltdown Fantasy, Vere pointed an accusatory finger at Teilhard, as did Essex (1955, cited by Spencer 1990a ). At the time of the 1911-12 discoveries, Teilhard, while studying at the Jesuit seminary at Hastings, had been befriended by Dawson and had several times searched in the Piltdown gravels with him and Smith Woodward. Thus he had had the opportunity to devise and plant the fakes. Indeed, he is reported to have found, in addition to the canine, a flint implement and part of an elephant tooth.

L. S. B. Leakey was convinced that Teilhard had been responsible. He had a long list of items of circumstantial evidence and was planning to write a book on the case against Teilhard, but his wife deterred him (Cole 1975, Tobias 1990). He told me that he had discussed Weiner's inculpation of Dawson with Teilhard and that Teilhard had said, "I know who was responsible for the Piltdown hoax, and it was not Charles Dawson" (Leakey, personal communication). The weakest part of Leakey's case was [248] his proposal of a motive: according to him, Teilhard as a young man had been known as a practical joker. (I have found no independent corroboration for this.) It is doubtful, moreover, whether Teilhard at the time had the knowledge or experience in human and primate anatomy, palaeoanthropology and palaeontology, geology, and archaeology which the intricacies of this elaborate hoax demanded. Dodson (1981) has reminded us that it was only after Teilhard had completed his training in theology at Hastings that he returned to Paris to study mammalian, primate, and human fossils systematically under the critical supervision of Boule. That was late in 19I2, though Teilhard returned for a retreat at Ore Place in 19I3.

Bowden (1977) and Gould (1980, 198I) later espoused the case against Teilhard. The most important foundation of Gould's case was furnished by certain apparent errors or inconsistencies in three letters written by Teilhard to Oakley on November 28, 1953, January 29, 1954, and March 1, 1954, supported by the contents of a letter from Teilhard to Mabel Kenward on March 2, 1954. These letters betray apparently confused memories of an event–Teilhard's visit to "the second site"–some 40-41 years earlier. A careful reading of the passages quoted by Gould from these letters does not seem to me to betray a pattern running through them (as Gould repeatedly claims). What impresses me in these letters is that they betray the foggy, confused mind and memory of an aging man. Teilhard's health was declining from early 1954 (Barbour 1956), and the letters in question were written 16-1/2 to 13 months before his death. This aspect alone seriously weakens Gould's case.

Is it possible that, 40 years after the events and under the influence of aging, Teilhard confused the second and third sites in the Uckfield area? In the 1953-54 letters to Oakley, he refers to his being shown "the second site" by Dawson during his 19I3 retreat at Ore Place. Gould (1981) assumes that this second site was Piltdown II (Sheffield Manor)–which Dawson reportedly "discovered" only in 1915, when Teilhard was serving with the French forces in World War I. It is, however, a matter of historical record that the second site at which Dawson "found" hominoid remains was Barcombe Mills, and that site "yielded" its first human bone (a frontal) to Dawson on July 3, 1913, about a month before Teilhard arrived back at Hastings. We know that Teilhard spent a few days in August 19I3 with his friend Dawson and that they were in the field for much of the time. It would be surprising if Dawson had not shown that second site {Barcombe Mills) to Teilhard. In fact, Teilhard tells Oakley in his letter of January 29, 1954, that, on the occasion of his visit to England in 19I3, he did visit "site no. II" with Dawson. He does not use the names Barcombe Mills or Sheffield Park.. 2 In the letter of November 28, 1953, Teilhard writes, "He [Dawson1 just brought me to the site of locality II and explained me that he had found the isolated molar and the small pieces of skull in the heaps of rubble and pebbles...." Apparently, Teilhard did not see the bones themselves on that visit (Blinderman I986: 136-37).

Lukas (1981b ) also argued that Barcombe Mills was the site to which Teilhard must have been referring in his 1953 letter to Oakley. In that event, Teilhard's memory of the date of his visit to "the second site" was approximately correct. Gould (198I:30) rebutted Lukas's claim in these words: "each of three times that Teilhard mentions this second find, he refers to it explicitly as the place 'where the two small fragments of skull and the isolated molar were supposedly found in the rubble.' Only one place yielded two skull fragments and a molar: the second site, "discovered' by Dawson in 19I5." Strictly speaking, Gould is wrong in this latter statement, for the Barcombe Mills remains also comprised two cranial fragments and an isolated molar; in addition, they included two zygomatic bones (Montagu 1951a, b; Oakley in Vallois and Movius 1952). Thus it is very likely that Teilhard was referring to Barcombe Mills but that he omitted to mention the zygomatic bones either because he had forgotten about them or because they were "discovered" only after Teilhard's visit, sometime between September 1913 and Dawson's death in August 19I6.

If Barcombe Mills was the second site referred to by Teilhard in his letters to Oakley, as now seems highly likely, the major basis of Gould's case against Teilhard falls away. The letters of Teilhard's last year and a half (he died on April 11, 1955) were called to the witness box not to support a case based primarily on other evidence but to constitute Gould's strongest evidence against Teilhard. A failing memory, clouded by deteriorating health, would surely suffice to explain Teilhard's replying about Barcombe Mills (the historically correct second site) when Oakley was enquiring about Piltdown II or Sheffield Park (historically, the third site) and omitting mention of the two zygomatic bones. Teilhard recognised that his memory was clouded when he wrote, "Concerning the point of 'history' you ask me, my 'souvenirs' are a little vague: . . . my visit . . . to the second site . . . must have been in late July 19I3" (letter to Oakley, January 29, 1954, cited by Gould 1980:18).

Gould's second most important line of "evidence" against Teilhard was the latter's lifelong silence about Piltdown, save for a short article in 1920 and rare, scattered references in his extensive oeuvre scientifique. An alternative explanation for his silence, as Dodson (198I) points out and Gould (198I) agrees, is that Teilhard knew that Piltdown was a fake but did not participate in the forgery himself. Gould (198I) acknowledges that this line of "evidence" is not as strong as that of the 1953-54 letters: "The silence indicates his knowledge of fraud; had I found this alone, I would not have implicated iTeilhard] directly" (p. 28).

As to Teilhard's supposed motive, Gould suggests that this was "a joke to see how far a gullible professional [249] could be taken"–and "a wonderful joke for a Frenchman, for England at the time boasted no human fossils at all" (Gould 1980:28). I doubt whether this proposed motive is strong enough to have led the culprit to think out, plan, and execute the elaborate forgery. From this rather weak motive, from the above attenuation of Gould's main evidence against Teilhard, and because it is doubtful whether, in 1911 or earlier, Teilhard had the requisite knowledge, I conclude that the case that Teilhard was Dawson's co-conspirator is not strong.

Another scenario involves minimal involvement of Teilhard in the fraud. Both Matthews (198I) and Thomson (1991a ) believe that M. A. C. Hinton of the British Museum (Natural History) filed and stained the canine tooth and persuaded Teilhard to plant it and "discover" it in August 19I3. Hinton's motive, it is suggested, was to force the hoax into the open. By this palpably ham-handed modification of the canine and the use of Vandyke brown to darken it (in contrast with all the other planted specimens, which had been stained with potassium bichromate), he hoped to expose the forgery which he either suspected or knew had been committed. On this view, Teilhard was persuaded by such a seemingly laudable purpose and agreed to be the conveyer, planter, and "discoverer" of the canine. Save for the known facts that Teilhard did find the canine and that it had been coloured by a different stain, the rest of this story, devised with great ingenuity by Matthews, is "all fiction" (Blinderman 1986:152). Thomson's recent revival of a modified version of Matthews's scheme involves Teilhard as well, in two scenarios as carrier, planter, and "discoverer" and in a third as a co-conspirator not with Hinton but with Dawson. Entertaining and even amusing as these diabolical schemes are, the complete lack of evidence is the missing link. Although discussion on the role of Teilhard continues, the available testimony does not convince me that he was implicated as a member of the conspiracy of forgers. However, the evidence makes it likely that he knew a fraud had been committed.

3. Grafton Elliot Smith.. A case against Elliot Smith, who had described the endocranial cast of Piltdown (in Dawson and Woodward 19I3), was put forward by Millar (1972) and Langham (1978, 1979). Few were convinced, and Langham abandoned the case some years later in favour of another suspect.

4. William /. Sollas. This professor of geology at Oxford was inculpated in a tape-recording left by his successor in the chair at Oxford, J. A. Douglas, and the case was vigorously promoted by Halstead (1978, 1979) and supported by von Koenigswald (1I98I) and, to a degree, by Dodson (198I). The evidence is tenuous.

5. Arthur Smith Woodward. The case for Smith Woodward's having been involved as "a willing accomplice" was briefly explored by Weiner (1955) and Langham (1979)– and then dropped. It was mooted also by J. C. Trevor in an unpublished and apparently ill-informed letter in 1967 (Spencer 1990a ::232). Most scholars of the subject feel that Smith Woodward was the innocent dupe, to be pitied rather than deprecated, though it is not impossible that he suspected that some of the Piltdown specimens had been planted (Bowden 1977:23- 24).

6. Arthur Conan Doyle. Lukas (1981a ) and Winslow and Meyer (1983) put forward the possibility that Conan Doyle might have been involved. He lived nearby at Crowborough, knew the Dawsons, and was interested in human evolution. The case has been dismissed by most critics as far-fetched.

7. Samuel Allison Woodhead. Woodhead was public analyst at Lewes as well as a consulting analyst and bacteriologist, and he was once, it seems, consulted by Dawson on how to stain bones. Costello's (1985) case against him was supported by Daniel (1985) as "the most convincing of all." This version lays the entire blame at Woodhead's door and makes Dawson an innocent dupe. For a motive it is suggested that Woodhead, a devout Presbyterian, hoped that exposure of the hoax would destroy the theory of evolution (Blinderman 1986). Costello's projected book on the evidence against Woodhead has not yet seen the light of day: until it does we have only a shaky basis on which to appraise Woodhead's possible role in the Piltdown affair.

8. William James Lewis Abbott. Abbott was a jeweller from Hastings, and Blinderman (1986) has found circumstantial factors to suggest that he was involved.

9. Martin Hinton. The case against Hinton put forward by Matthews (1I98I) and lately supported by Zuckerman (1990) has been mentioned above. Hinton was a voluntary worker in the British Museum (Natural History) who was later to become keeper of zoology. Hinton was said to have been a prankster, and in Who's Who he stated that he was interested in hoaxes, of which he had "studied many"–a point considered of great moment by Zuckerman. Moreover, Hinton might have borne a grudge against Smith Woodward. Although he might have had knowledge, materials, and opportunity, the suggested motive seems trivial and evidence is lacking.

10. Frank Barlow. Working as assistant to Smith Woodward, Barlow, the preparator in the Geology Department of the British Museum (Natural History), made–and sold–casts of the Piltdown remains and was described by Keith as "a prince of modellers." Grigson (1990a ) has proposed that Barlow was the man in the museum, with access to fossil bones and with the necessary skills to have prepared the "specimens" with which the gravel pit at Piltdown was salted. Did he have the considerable knowledge of anatomy, palaeontology, archaeology, geology, and geochronology which the totality of the hoax presupposed? It is doubtful, and this, together with a lack of evidence, seriously weakens Barlow's candidature.

11. William Ruskin Butterfield. The curator of the Hastings Museum, according to a letter from Teilhard de Chardin, was upset to learn that iguanodon bones found near Hastings had been sent by Dawson to Smith Woodward rather than to the Hastings Museum, of whose association Dawson was a member. On the basis of Butterfield's supposed desire for revenge, van Esbroeck (1972) built an ingenious case that Butterfield was the hoaxer, the digger Venus Hargreaves his courier [250] and planter, and Dawson an innocent dupe. Evidence is totally lacking, and the proposal has been disregarded. Moreover, it is doubtful whether Butterfield had the skill or knowledge required.

Several theories involve a conspiracy involving two or even more of these persons. If Dawson is accepted on overwhelming evidence as a forger and three of the five desiderata demand that we posit the participation of a well- qualified savant as co-perpetrator, was he any one of the ten other suspects listed above? ' Or was he another, hitherto unsuspected personage?

In April 1984, I received a telephone call from Ian Langham in the Department of History at the University of Sydney. This was followed up by a letter on April 26, 1984: he was leaving that night for London and wished to visit me on his return, en route back to Australia. In that letter he wrote:

My current research projects are (1) a biographical work on Sir Arthur Keith; (2) a revaluation of the events surrounding the Piltdown forgery. Project (2) is the thing that is burning a hole in my brain at present, as I have amassed evidence relating to the culpability question which is, I believe, an order of magnitude "harder" and less circumstantial than anything that anyone else has managed to come up with so far. And before I bring the wrath of God down upon myself by publishing it, I would like to first check it out with the cognoscenti.

So it came about that Langham and I, in Johannesburg, spent Thursday afternoon and evening, May 24, 1984, in a seven-to-eight-hour conversation on Piltdown and related matters. During this chat Langham divulged his theory of the identity of the scientist-member of the two-man team of forgers he was postulating. It struck me that as far as I knew this was about the only one of all of the "Piltdown men" who had not so far been incriminated. I subjected his proposal to stringent criticism, on the one hand, and enthusiastic encouragement, on the other. I drew attention to the dangers inherent in a two-person theory: each could have betrayed the other, and the great man would have exposed himself to enormous danger. "And," I speculated, "would there not have been some passing reference in some letter or diary entry, by one or the other7" I urged him to continue with his researches and write up the fruits of his labours on original unpublished archival material in London, including the Keith papers.

As I was convinced that the acceptance of Piltdown by leading figures in British anthropology had played a major part in delaying the acceptance of Dart's (1925) claims for the Taung child, I invited Langham to attend the international symposium I was organising, which was to take place early in 1985, on the 60th anniversary of Dart's announcement of the discovery of Australopithecus africanus. Langham's next letter to me, dated May 3I, 1984, after his return to Australia, intimated that he would be delighted to give a paper on "the history of hominid studies, with special reference to Piltdown and how it caused the African finds to be misinterpreted." He added, "My Piltdown revelations should have appeared in print by then and I imagine that your Symposium would represent an unequalled opportunity to get oral feedback from the leading practitioners of the discipline."

In a subsequent letter to me, Langham withdrew from the Taung Jubilee Symposium, as he was not able to raise sufficient funds to cover the high cost of the airfare. He agreed on the difficulties I had raised about a two-man team of forgers and commented, "Actually I think I can show that the dynamics of the two-man system were unstable, and very nearly led to one man giving the game away." In the same letter a few alarm signals appeared: "I feel wretched about doing this [withdrawing from the Taung meeting].... my writing up of the Piltdown article has been going falteringly.... this is being written under conditions of stress." It was the last letter I received from him. His tragic death occurred on July 20, 1984.

The subject of Taung and Piltdown did come up for discussion at the Taung Diamond Jubilee International Symposium. I briefly discussed the historical relationship between Taung and the Piltdown forgery (Tobias 1985:37- 38), though I did not divulge Langham's suspicions as to the identity of the hoaxer. Inter alia, I said, "The exposure of the Piltdown remains as fraudulent dealt a final, fatal blow to the notion that the increase of absolute brain-size had been first in the field. Piltdown had helped to delay the acceptance of Dart's claims for Australopithecus. In some people's minds, it produced a hold-up of 28 years–from 1925 to 1953!" By coincidence, at the same meeting Washburn (1985), in the 23d Raymond A. Dart lecture, made some penetrating comments on the same topic, including this one: "it is of interest to note that some of the strongest critics of Dart were advocates of the forgery known as Eoanthropus [Piltdown}.. If one believed that the large human braincase came first in evolution, then there was no place for Taung" (Washburn 1985:5).

Nearly a year after Langham's death I received letters from Kathie Langham, Peter Cochrane, and Tim Murray asking my views on their choice of Frank Spencer of Queens College, the City University of New York, to bring Langham's researches on the Piltdown forgery to completion. Having known and admired Spencer's (1979) two- volume study Ales' Hrdlicka, M.D., 1869-1943, I had no hesitation whatever in replying that Mrs. Langham and Ian's Australian colleagues could not have chosen a more reliable, conscientious, and scholarly person than Spencer to develop, write up, and publish Langham's incomplete work on the Piltdown forgery. Moreover, Mrs. Langham gave me permission to pass on to Spencer the correspondence that had passed between her late husband and myself.

Spencer took on the task: but here it must be noted that his own historical researches on the life and correspondence of Hrdlicka had already led him to become heavily immersed in the London documents related to Piltdown, housed in the British Museum (Natural History) and in the Royal College of Surgeons, as well as [251] the correspondence and diaries of Sir Arthur Keith. Duriing the course of these researches he had been led independently to the same conclusion Langham had reached, namely, that the scientist-accomplice of Dawson had been none other than Sir Arthur Keith.

The books that Spencer produced were Piltdown: A Scientific Forgery (1990a ) and The Piltdown Papers (1990b ). The former is a closely reasoned analysis and a work of profound scholarship. The latter presents a minutely catalogued, meticulously indexed, and comprehensive compilation of all the relevant documents of which either Langham or Spencer or both had studied the originals. By placing these on record, Spencer has made it possible and easy for other scholars to examine the evidence for themselves and either corroborate the Langham-Spencer hypothesis or reach other conclusions.

In Piltdown: A Scientific Forgery, Spencer has produced a penetrating study of Piltdown as an episode in the history of science, based partly on Langham's unpublished notes and largely on his own researches on the Piltdown papers in the British Museum (Natural History), on the Keith Papers in the Royal College of Surgeons, and on other original sources. Not content with recounting the facts and the theories about Piltdown, he analysed the prevailing paradigm in the early part of the 20th century and the discoveries and hypotheses which, during the previous century, had led up to that state of knowledge. Eiseley (1956), in reviewing Weiner’s (1955) book, had written, "It is . . . a pity that as part of the story something more of the general intellectual climate of the period might not have been analyzed. This sort of effort takes time, however, and the time unfortunately was not available." This lacuna Spencer's book has superbly filled. In skillfully limning this conceptual background, Spencer has enabled us to see the events centred around Piltdown in historical and philosophical perspective. His searching account of the response to Piltdown reveals it as a case study in the sometimes subtle and often blatant interaction of personalities, motives, and events, theories, facts, and supposed facts, reputations and egos, enmities and fair-weather friendships, simulations and dissimulations. He shows us that a paradigm can be so powerful as to dictate the course of discovery, interpretation, and scientific history and that it may, in the event, delay progress in a field of research by years and even decades.

Although Kuhn (1962) has argued strongly for the relatively non-rational basis of revolutions in scientific thought, the Piltdown history shows that it was the sheer weight of newly discovered evidence that made it impossible to sustain the Piltdown paradigm after 1950 and led to its replacement. The hoax could succeed in hoodwinking and convincing many scientists in 1912, before Africa had thrown its ancient hominid fossil surprises into the scale-pan and perhaps when, as Zuckerman (1970:73) observes, "anatomists were . . . deluding themselves about their capacity to diagnose marginal human and ape-like characters in bones and teeth." It had become untenable by 1950, when men like Clark had come to accept the hominid status of the australopithecine fossils from South Africa. The total incompatibility between the newly emerging paradigm of the1950s and the Piltdown concept forced the pace in the reexamination of the Piltdown remains. It was against this background that Weiner, a member of Clark's Department of Human Anatomy at Oxford, had come up with the hypothesis that a forgery had been effected. As Bronowski (195I) and others have pointed out, the assumption of truthfulness in science is the very leitmotif, almost the religion, of the scientist. We may think our colleagues have been mistaken, foolish, ignorant, ill-advised, pig-headed or simple-minded, but the very last thing we tend to suspect them of is dishonesty.

Langham scoured the original sources for evidence, probably more thoroughly than had ever been done before his time. As a result he came up with the most surprising, indeed shocking, and at the same time most seemingly logical conclusion as to the identity of the scientist-member of the team of forgers. I believe that Spencer has done full justice to Langham's work and reasoning in presenting his brief on the hoaxer's identity. Spencer has thoroughly reworked all of the original source material over a number of years, and therefore his presentation of Langham's theory is informed by his own researches and reasoning. Indeed, his powerful commitment to Langham's brief is based not on loyalty to a "friend," as one critic avers (Zuckerman 1990)–for Spencer (1990a ) tells us that he had met Langham but once, though they had kept up a correspondence–but on his earlier readings of the Hrdlicka-Keith papers, which had independently aroused his own suspicion that Keith was the scientist-forger. From my short acquaintance with Langham and his thinking in the last months of his life, I cannot help believing that he would have approved warmly of the critical, objective yet supportive treatment that his brief is accorded in Spencer's book.

Nine Pointers to Keith's Guilt

A number of items have been uncovered some of which individually could have had an innocent explanation, such as a lapse of memory, but which collectively point in the same direction–namely, to a determined effort by Keith to cover up any suspicion of his acquaintance or familiarity with Dawson, the Piltdown site, or the "specimens" in the period when the "specimens" were first being uncovered. To distance himself he resorted to several apparent lies and misleading statements. The following lines of evidence fall into place as parts of such a pattem.

1 What he revealed in the British Medical Journal. Part I of an unsigned article on the Piltdown meeting appeared in the British Medical Journal three days later, on December 21, 1912. It has been claimed that the article revealed details about Piltdown which were not ventilated at the meeting (Spencer 1990a ). The authorship of that article–which betrayed that its writer had a [252] thorough acquaintance with the Piltdown site– remained unknown until Langham discovered an entry in Keith's diary to the effect that he, Keith, had written an article on Piltdown for the British Medical Journal on Monday night, December 16, two days before the meeting. The reference is undoubtedly to the article in question. As Zuckerman (I99I) has indicated, there was a continuation of the article in the following week's issue of the journal. Thus, part 2 of the anonymous article could have been written after the meeting on December 18. However, the critical point is that Keith had sufficient knowledge of the site and the history of the discovery to have written at least part I of the article before the meeting, although both Grigson (1990b ) and Zuckerman (1990) have countered Langham's point by suggesting that Keith must have added to the article after the meeting. I am inclined to agree with Zuckerman and Grigson on this point after my own study of the articles in the British Medical Journal and in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society. There remain, however, some difficulties which Grigson's and Zuckerman's suggestion does not adequately explain.

Zuckerman and Grigson claim that full details of the whereabouts of the site were revealed at the meeting of December 18, which details Keith could have added to his article or to the proofs after the meeting. However, their claim is not corroborated by Dawson and Woodward's (1913) article: no specific description of the location of the site is given, the only clues being a plan of the basin of the Sussex Ouse, a diagrammatic section of the Weald, some vague general remarks by Dawson ("a gravel-bed on the farm"; "about 4 miles north of the limit where the occurrence of flints overlying the Wealden strata is recorded"), and a brief acknowledgement in a footnote of the courtesy of G. M. Maryon-Wilson, the lord of the manor, and Robert Kenward, tenant of the farm, in granting permission to excavate–though the farm and manor house (Barkham Manor) are not named in the acknowledgement or anywhere else in the article.

Indeed, it is clear that neither Dawson nor Smith Woodward revealed the exact locality at the meeting. On the contrary, they appear to have gone out of their way not to betray the whereabouts of the site. Thus, Mabel Kenward, the tenant's daughter, wrote to Smith Woodward on January 3, 19I3, "In spite of the actual spot not being mentioned we have had several visitors–and one local shopkeeper is doing a great trade in postcards" (Spencer 1990b :49). On February 5, 1913, Dawson wrote to Maryon-Wilson, "So far, I have not mentioned the ownership of the land or the exact spot because I did not wish Mr. R. Kenward to be troubled by trespassers" (Spencer 1990b :50). It seems reasonable to infer that the references to the locality given in the published version of the Dawson and Woodward report were deliberately vague and faithfully reflect the minimal amount of information which was given at the meeting on December 18. This controverts Zuckerman's and Grigson's unsupported assertions–"All had been revealed in detail at the meeting–maps and all" (Zuckerman 1990:14) and "It had been described at the meeting" (Grigson 1990b :1343). Zuckerman's reference to "maps and all" is not accurate: figure I in the Dawson and Woodward (19I3) article is the only map I have found in the Quarterly Journal, and it shows the position of Piltdown near the centre of an area of the south of England which is 24 miles east-west and 28 miles north-south. A map on that scale could scarcely be said to show in detail the location of "a little roadside pit" (Woodward 1948:6). Nor is Dawson's text any more informative. Moreover, we have no evidence whether or not the map in question was shown at the meeting. The only other relevant illustration in the Dawson and Woodward article (which might have led Zuckerman to use the term "maps and all") was their figure 2, not a map at all but a diagrammatic north-south section of the Weald from Tatsfield to Newhaven, a distance of some 38 miles. The position of Piltdown is shown just over one-third of this distance north of Newhaven– hardly a precise localisation.

There is every reason to infer that, at the Burlington House meeting, Dawson and Smith Woodward were at pains to reveal no more detail of the locality than subsequently appeared in print.

Now let us examine how precise were the details given in [Keith's] article in the British Medical Journal. Here are his ipsissima verba (1912:1719):

The scene of this "find" lies some nine miles north of Lewes, in the valley of the Sussex Ouse, which, rising in the Weald, breaks through the South Downs at Lewes, and enters the sea at Newhaven. After flowing eastwards past Sheffield Park the Ouse bends southward. On the north bank, at the bend, about a mile from the river and on a flat field near Piltdown Common, in the parish of Fletching, situated 80 ft. above the level of the river, there is a superficial bed of gravel 4 ft. thick. It is in this bed of gravel that the fossil bones were found by Mr. Charles Dawson of Lewes....

A punctilious reading reveals that much of the information here is to be found in Dawson's account. The stated height of the gravel above the nver level (80 ft.) is as given by Dawson. According to Dawson, the gravel bed varies in thickness from 3 to 5 ft.; [Keith] gives the middle value, 4 ft. However, [Keith's] statements (1) that the site was "some nine miles north of Lewes," (2) that the gravel lay "about a mile from the river," and (3) that the gravel lay "on a flat field" do not match anything in Dawson's article. The former two statements could perhaps have been estimated from detailed measurements on the map, if the map as published had been available at the meeting. In respect of the site, [Keith's] description is clearer, more detailed, and more precise. The facts given in [Keith's] account are thus in part closely related to those in Dawson's article. When Keith wrote this part of the British Medical Journal article, he clearly either had access to Dawson's manuscript and map, possibly in advance of the meeting, or had personally been to the site beforehand. On either explanation, collusion [253] between Keith and Dawson may be inferred. The only other possible inference, namely, that Keith at the meeting made detailed and almost verbatim notes and took measurements on the map of the scale and of the distance between the river and the Piltdown gravel pit, is highly improbable.

A noteworthy difference between [Keith's1 and Dawson's articles is the inclusion by the former of the tale of a "thing like a cocoa-nut" having been dug out by farm labourers "four years ago." The pieces were said to have been thrown on a rubbish heap nearby, and "it was from this rubbish heap that Mr. Dawson recovered the greater part of the skull" ([Keith] 19I2:I7I9). According to the account published in the Quarterly Journal, this story was not told at the Burlington House meeting, and its inclusion in [Keith's] article could well point to prior collusion between Keith and Dawson. Smith Woodward's curiosity was aroused sufficiently to lead him to make enquiries about the authorship of the British Medical Journal article. One of these was addressed to A. S. Underwood, whose help in the initial study of the Piltdown remains Smith Woodward acknowledged (Dawson and Woodward 19I3 139) and who published an account of the Piltdown mandible in the British Dental Journal (19I3): Underwood replied on December 30, 1912 "No I didn't do the BMJ" (Spencer 1990b :47).

From this restudy of the critical question that had aroused Langham's suspicions, I have pinpointed several items related to Keith's description in the British Medical Journal of the locality and site and of the history of the discovery which Keith almost certainly did not glean from the meeting on December 18, 1912. The only likely source of these items of information would have been Dawson himself, colluding with Keith, or prior knowledge of the site gained from an earlier visit by Keith to the site. On either interpretation, strength is given to Langham's contention that Keith had had additional and prior knowledge of the site and its history.

The anonymity of the article in the Journal is not a serious point, save in one respect. The fact that the article was accorded the status of the "main weekly editorial" and that such editorials were customarily unsigned, as Zuckerman (1990) points out, afforded Keith the cloak of anonymity that, on the Langham-Spencer hypothesis, he required.

2,. His apparent inability to find Piltdown. A diary entry for January 4, 1913, describes a visit Keith and his wife paid that day to the Piltdown area. The diary conveys the impression that they could not find the Piltdown site and had to ask some boys: then Keith recorded, "didn't see the gravel bed anywhere," and they returned home. Langham believed that this was deliberately misleading: it is strange, indeed, to imagine the Keiths going all the way from London and turning back within a few metres of their goal. Yet we can be reasonably sure that Keith knew where the site was, either from what was revealed at the meeting (on Zuckerman’s unsupported assertion) or from what Keith already knew when he wrote his article for the British Medical Journal. . It seems to me to be even stranger that Keith have gone there without making a prior arrangement with either Dawson, the man on the spot, or Smith Woodward, who with Dawson had "scientific ownership" of the site. On the Langham-Spencer hypothesis, Keith went through the charade of getting lost when he took his wife to see the site as another attempt to create a smokescreen and to distance himself from giving the impression that he had prior knowledge of the site.

3. His account of his supposed first meeting with Dawson. In his Autobiography Keith (1950:378) appears to go out of his way to create the impression that he first met Dawson early in 19I3, after the Burlington House meeting:

It may not be amiss if I recall now some of the happy sequelae which came out of the Piltdown controversy. One morning early in 19I3, when I entered my office at College [the Royal College of Surgeons], I found a gentleman waiting for me. He introduced himself as Mr. Charles Dawson. We had a pleasant hour together. His open, honest nature and his wide knowledge endeared him to me. He quite appreciated the attention I was giving to his own special child–Piltdown man!

There seems little doubt that Keith must have met Dawson previously on several occasions. First, in July 1911 Keith had taken part in an excursion, as a guest of honour, to Hastings, hosted by W. R. Butterfield, Dawson, and Lewis Abbott: it is inconceivable that Keith, one of three guests of honour, and Dawson, one of three hosts, would have failed to meet. Secondly, there must have been at least one or two meetings in connection with the occurrence of a 13th thoracic vertebra in a small number of human skeletons in Keith's collection at the Royal College of Surgeons. On this subject Dawson wrote a paper (1912). One does not study and write a paper on specimens in another scientist's collection without first obtaining explicit permission from the scientist in question. Therefore, it must be assumed that this study was not made behind Keith's back and that, when Dawson visited the Royal College, it was with Keith's blessing and that he met Keith on such occasions. Thirdly, Keith was present and took part in the discussion at the Burlington House meeting at which Dawson and Smith Woodward presented their account of Piltdown and the "remains." Thus it seems amazing that Keith (who kept not one but two diaries) should have tried to convey the impression that he first met Dawson early in 1913. It is astonishing, moreover, that he should have underlined his prior supposed unfamiliarity with Dawson by stating that "he introduced himself as Mr. Charles Dawson"–as if Keith did not know who he was.

On one occasion Keith's guard appears to have dropped momentarily. After the uncovering of the hoaxer in 1953, Weiner and Oakley interviewed Keith at Downe, Kent. In reply to their direct question as to the date of Keith's first meeting with Dawson, Sir Arthur first replied "Before the famous meeting of 1912." Then suddenly he corrected himself and said, "No, it was in [254] fact afterwards, at the time when I was on bad terms with Smith Woodward" (Spencer 1990a::193). ). What is more, Keith went to the trouble, the next day, to write to Weiner to say that he had searched amongst his papers and found "a sort of manual I made entries in." He had noted that he had first met Dawson on "January 28, 1913.

All of this evidence–the entry in the Autobiography, the ignoring of the earlier occasions of almost certain encounters, and the correcting of the slip of the tongue both orally and in writing–shows how far Keith went to create the impression that he had not known Dawson prior to January 1913, despite much evidence to the contrary.

4. His prevarication to Hrdlicka. Spencer uncovered another inconsistency or prevarication. On October 28, 1912, Hrdlicka had written to Keith asking him for information about the Piltdown "discovery." Keith replied only on December 23, 1912, explaining that he had not replied earlier as he had not been permitted to see the material until it was made public on December 18 at Burlington House. We know that this was untrue–that Keith had been shown the material at the British Museum (Natura1 History) on two occasions, on December 3, 1912, and "a week before the famous meeting on December 18" (Keith's letter to Weiner, November 22, 1953, cited by Spencer 1990a :193)). Either Keith's statement to Hrdlicka was a "white lie" or it is to be seen as part of the pattern carefully created by Keith to distance himself from Piltdown, from the "remains," and from Dawson pnor to December 1912.

5. His destruction of his correspondence with Dawson.. Keith, who was such a meticulous archivist and diarist, had nonetheless destroyed all of his correspondence with Dawson, as well as all of his notes related to Piltdown and Dawson. Both Oakley and Weiner noted, in their respective reports on their interview with Keith at Downe on November 21, 1953, that Keith told them that all his letters from Dawson had been destroyed "by himself in a bonfire some years ago" (cited in Spencer 1990b :207, 220). This destruction of the Dawson-Keith correspondence was apparently so thorough that when Spencer, between 1983 and 1986, catalogued all of Keith's pnvate and professional papers in the library of the Royal College of Surgeons, he failed to unearth any surviving correspondence between Keith and Dawson (Spencer 1990b :2-8) –though hundreds of other letters and notes survived. The completeness and the evident selectivity {Spencer 1990b ) of Keith's destruction of the Dawson correspondence are remarkable and most suspicious.

6. A tale of 13 vertebrae. An extraordinarily convoluted pathway of association between Keith and Dawson is suggested by the story of the 13th thoracic vertebra referred to above. We know that Dawson had been visiting the Royal College of Surgeons prior to May 12, 1912, on which date he wrote to Smith Woodward telling him so. We know also that, although it seems that Dawson had no prior record in human anatomy, he was apparently permitted to study–with a view to publication–certain human skeletons in Keith's collection. It is, as I have said, inconceivable and would have been scientifically improper for Dawson to have studied and tried to publish upon materials in Keith's charge without Keith's having determined his credentials to do the work in question and given consent. Yet we find Dawson, in his May 12 letter to Smith Woodward accompanying the manuscript of his paper on the 13th vertebra, declaring, "I am very anxious to get it placed at once because I have had to work the photographs under the nose of Keith and his assistant. I gather from the latter that Keith is rather puzzled what to make of it all, and I want to secure the priority to which I am entitled" (Spencer 1990a :195). Since we must assume that Keith gave permission for Dawson's study, this strange statement is clearly a blind on Dawson's part, evidently designed to conceal the prior acquaintance and collusion between himself and Keith.

It is difficult to understand why Dawson had been visiting the College in the first place unless it was to have discussions with Keith and, possibly also, to obtain materials with which to salt the Piltdown gravel. Moreover, it is most difficult to comprehend how Dawson came to be counting vertebrae in human skeletons in Keith's collection–such a study could not conceivably have arisen out of Dawson's previous archaeological and palaeontological collecting in Sussex–unless Keith had put Dawson onto the project of examining human skeletons with 13 thoracic vertebrae. Why should Keith have done this?

Perhaps, thought Langham, the project of the 13th vertebra provided the alibi needed to explain Dawson's several or repeated visits to the Royal College. In submitting his paper to Smith Woodward, Dawson said, "if you think well enough of it I should be very much obliged if you would introduce the paper for me at the Royal Society" (Spencer 1990a :194-95). It is possible that by encouraging Dawson to undertake the study and to believe that it might be presented to the Royal Society, Keith was playing upon Dawson's passionate desire to become a Fellow of the Royal Society and conveying to Dawson that he was prepared to help advance this aim. Thereby Keith would have been buying Dawson's loyalty.

If Keith had planned to provide Dawson with an alibi, why did he choose the project of the 13th vertebra? Langham brought to light an interesting item of information which he believed might help to explain this. Earlier in 1912, the Royal Anthropological Institute had sent Keith a copy for review of Le Double's Variations de la colonne vertebrale de l'homme (1912) In that work Le Double wrote about, inter alia, human skeletons with supernumerary vertebrae, including 13 thoracic vertebrae. This might have suggested the project to Keith, especially as there were five such skeletons in the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College. He might even have lent the review copy of the book to Dawson (who was proficient in French). In this regard, it is interesting that Keith "sat on" the Le Double book for three years before submitting a ten-line review to the An[255]thropological Institute. Was this another set of coincidences–perhaps one coincidence too many?

7. His repeated assertion that "Dawson was an honest man." In reading the writings of Keith, I have been struck by the frequency with which he refers to Dawson's "honesty" and "sterling" personal qualities. For instance, in his Antiquity of Man (1925), he refers to "the sterling ability and unselfish personality" of Dawson (p. 486). We recall his spirited encomium to Dawson at the unveiling of the Piltdown monument in 1938, and we have seen the description in his Autobiography (1950) of their purported first meeting, citing Dawson's "open, honest nature." Again in the same work, Keith describes how, in the early days of the Piltdown discovery, he and Smith Woodward were open antagonists– "enemies, I might almost say" (p. 654)–but that "as years went by we were gradually drawn together by two circumstances: he and I never differed as to the genuineness and importance of the discovery made at Piltdown; and we had both the same love and respect for Charles Dawson" (p. 654). Yet a further illustration of Keith's seeming preoccupation with Dawson's integrity is furnished in Oakley's report on the meeting of himself and Weiner with Keith on November 21, 1953. Oakley writes, "Dawson had seemed to him [Keith] a quiet, respectable, honest man" (cited in Spencer 1990b :207). Weiner's separate report on that interview cited Keith as saying that Dawson was "an open, honest chap."

Why does Keith seek so assiduously to be supportive of Dawson? One is reminded of Hamlet's mother's words, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." Was Keith trying to uphold Dawson's reputation not simply out of loyalty to an old friend but as part of the camouflage, the "cover-up"? Keith's reasoning could have been along these lines–the more honest Dawson was seen to be, the less likely it was that the legitimacy of Dawson's "own special child," Piltdown, would be called into question.

8. His protests of Piltdown’s genuineness. Keith seems also to have been preoccupied with asserting the genuineness or authenticity of the Piltdown remains; something one does not find in the writings of Smith Woodward. Indeed, he sometimes interprets investigators' doubts whether the cranium and mandible be longed to the same species as attacks on the "authenticity" of the specimens. For example, in A New Theory of Human Evolution (1948) Keith states that Weidenreich (1943) had proposed "to deny the authenticity of the Piltdown fossil remains." However, a careful perusal of the full discussion (jpp. 216-20) shows that Weidenreich did not question whether the Piltdown hominoid specimens were authentic. On the contrary, he questions the compatibility of the cranium, the mandible, and the supposed lower canine with one another: this human vault, simian mandible, and anonymous "canine," he averred, could not possibly have belonged to one and the same form. Their combination into a single individual dubbed Eoanthropus, had created a chimaera–and "the sooner the chimaera 'Eoanthropus' is erased from the: list of human fossils, the better for science" (Weidenreich 1943:220). This is not to question the authenticity (as Keith states) if by "authentic" we understand "trustworthy" or "genuine." Again, on p. 654 of An Autobiography, we have already seen Keith's statement that he and Smith Woodward "never differed as to the genuineness . . . of the discovery made at Piltdown."

Why was Keith at pains so often to stress that the Piltdown remains were "genuine" or "authentic"? It could be argued that nobody wrote more often about Piltdown or at greater length than Keith did–Piltdown occupied ten chapters filling 204 pages of The Antiquity of Man 1915)–and that his references to the genuineness of the Piltdown remains were by happenstance alone. On the other hand, in the context of all the other lines of evidence assembled here it is pertinent to suggest that Keith animadverted to the authenticity of the remains so frequently because he either suspected or knew that they were not authentic. His reasoning could then have been that the more the remains were said and believed to be trustworthy and of undisputed origin, the less likely it was that the fake would be uncovered.

9. His misrepresentation of Shattock's results. One further highly relevant untruth has been discovered by me. While Keith was conservator of the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, S. G. Shattock (1857-1924) was in charge of the largest section of the museum, that on pathological lesions of the human body. When the 17th International Congress of Medicine met in London in July 1913, Shattock presided over its Pathological Section. He presented a lengthy disquisition on cranial thickening in modem human subjects and in "certain Pleistocene crania." Naturally he commented on the very thick Piltdown cranium: it was only seven months since Smith Woodward had drawn attention to this thickening of the vault bones as the only significant feature of the specimen which would not be expected among modem human crania (Dawson and Woodward 1913).

An interesting feature of the thickening of the Piltdown calvaria was described by Smith Woodward: "The thickening is due to the great development of the cancellated diploe, the outer and inner tables of the bone being everywhere comparatively thin" (Dawson and Woodward 1913:124). Such thickening of the diploe is feature of certain pathological conditions (Shattock (1914), Weidenreich (1943), including some binopathies (Adeloye, Kattan, and Silverman 1975). As Weidenreich (1943:164) has pointed out, it sharply with the form of thickening found in Peking man. In the latter hominid, "all three constituents of the bone take equal part in the thickening, the two tables slightly more than the diploe." The structure in the Piltdown bones would thus point strongly to the original skull's having been pathological. Oakley (1960) has mentioned two recent crania in the British Museum (Natural History), one of an Ona from Tierra del Fuego, and the other of a Bronze Age person from Sutton Courtenay in Berkshire, England, which show thickening similar to that of Piltdown I.

Shattock's paper was published in the proceedings of [256] the Congress in 1914. Applying the criteria set forth in his treatise to Piltdown, Shattock felt he could exclude syphilis, osteitis deformana, osteomalacia, leontiasis, acromegaly, pulmonary osteoarthropathy, and "thickening in the insane." He could not, however, exclude "a past rachitis that has been followed by a reconstruction of the bone" such as he had diagnosed on a "thickened mediaeval English skull from Gloucestershire" (P 44). From, first, the peculiar pattern of the thickening in the Piltdown cranium, second, the presence of elevated patches on the inner surface of certain of the fragments, and, third, the presence of what he took to be early synostosis which had here and there taken place at the sutures, Shattock concluded, "Without making any dogmatic statement, certain details of the Piltdown calvaria . . . suggest the possibility of a pathological process having underlain the thickened condition" (P. 46). Both from his inability to exclude a rachitic history and from his conclusion, the only possible reading of Shattock's paper is that he pointed unequivocally to the possibility that the thickening and some other features of the Piltdown I calvaria had been produced by some previous morbid condition. At no point did he refer to its being definitely normal.

Despite these statements in Shattock's 44-page article, where Keith refers in The Antiquity of Man (1915)) to the "surprisingly thick" Piltdown bones he makes the following assertion: "The bone is naturally formed; there can be no question of disease. My colleague Mr. Shattock definitely settled this point" (Keith 1915:320, italics mine). The accompanying footnote refers to Shattock's contribution to the Pathological Section of the International Medical Congress that had been held in London in August 1913. Keith's untruthful assertion is repeated in his second edition, where he uses the words "The late Professor Shattock definitely settled this point" (Keith 1925). We may be certain that Keith knew of Shattock's study: they worked in the same institution; Keith (1925) cited Shattock's supposed opinion on Piltdown and gave the reference to Shat tock's publication in a footnote (p. 370). Yet Keith's statement, published in both editions of his book, is clearly a misrepresentation of Shattock's position. This provides one example of the lies of which both Elliot Smith and Sollas accused Keith (see below).

The first and more obvious reason Keith was at such pains to deny any possibility that the Piltdown calvari was pathological seems to me to be that, if some feature of Piltdown I had been the outcome of earlier pathology the cranium might have been unsuitable to provide direct fossil evidence for Keith's particular theory of the pattern of hominid evolution–one of the motives that. have been suggested for the forgery. The second is that if the Piltdown calvaria had been pathological, it would have pointed to a link with the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons. It is known that the museum had a fine collection of anomalous and pathological skeletons, including the Gloucestershire specimen and others described by Bamard Davis in his Thesaurus Craniorum (1867). ). I have already referred to the five skeletons with supernumerary vertebrae. Field (1953) commented on this treasury of specimens when describing his first visit to Keith at the Royal College in 1921: "he showed me around. Here was the world's finest collection of acromegalic casts of faces, hands, and feet.... Here were the dwarfs, their casts and skeletons . . . at the opposite extreme of endocrine disorder, we came to the giants . . " (pp. 36-37). On this reasoning, if the specimen were indeed shown to be pathological, other scholars might infer that it was highly likely to have stemmed from the Royal College, and exposure would have been on the cards. It was most important, therefore, for Keith to assert that, despite its thickness, the Piltdown specimen was nominal, even if this meant his resorting to false presences in respect of Shattock's view.

The following scenario proposes itself: it would have been relatively easy for Keith to select an old, thickboned cranium (?another mediaeval cranium from Gloucestershire or elsewhere) from the museum's immense collection of specimens as the counterfeit evidence to be planted, after due treatment, at Piltdown. At the time the cranium was chosen (?1911 or earlier), neither Keith, Dawson, nor anyone else would have known the results of Shattock's great study on calvarial thickening. The choice of a thick calvaria was deliberate; early hominid crania were generally thick. However, the choice of this particular thick cranium proved to be a mistake because of its probably pathological character. As though to cover up this mistake, we find Keith not acknowledging what Shattock really said but asserting that Shattock had "definitely settled" the normality and freedom from disease of the Piltdown calvaria. Whether anyone, including Shattock, ever pointed out Keith's "mistake" to him we do not know, but it is alarming to find the same false assertion–so necessary to Keith's case–being repeated in the second edition of The Antiquity of Man, ten years later, after Shattock had died.

The list of nine lines of evidence against Keith is not exhaustive. The present analysis includes topics (items 7, 8, and 9) over and above those adduced by Spencer and Langham, new validations of item 1, which has been questioned by two of Spencer’s critics, and item 3, and fresh perspectives on items 2 and 6. Collectively, these items all point in the same direction: (1) that Keith knew about and had been involved in the goings-on centred upon the site of Piltdown; (2) that, to cover his tracks, he took every possible measure to convey the impression that he had had no acquaintance with the site, the Piltdown "remains," or Charles Dawson prior to December 1912; (3) that he sustained this misleading and camouflaging pose right up to the time when he wrote his Autobiography (1950) and, apart from a momentary slip in his old age, even when he was visited by Weiner and Oakley on November 21, 1953; (4) that he took every opportunity to attest to the integrity of Dawson and the genuineness of the Piltdown "discoveries"; (5) that he vouched for the normality or freedom from pathology of the Piltdown hominoid "remains," even to the point of outright imposture. On some of the [257] above lines above lines of reasoning and yet others, Spencer, from his own lengthy and scholarly analysis, and Langham, from his, were drawn to the same conclusion, namely, that Keith resorted to all of these "cover-up" actions, evasions, and misrepresentations because he was indeed the scientist-member of the team of forgers.

Evidence as to Keith's Character

Although at the time Keith was becoming one of the great names in anthropology and anatomy in Great Britain, a number of his colleagues distrusted him. Several examples suffice to make the point:

On April 8, 1914, Grafton Elliot Smith wrote to A. C. Haddon about inter alia "Keith's game of deliberately fouling the pitch" and his tendency "to publish stuff which he (knew) to be false" (Spencer 1990b :3.1.13).

In May 1925, William J. Sollas wrote to Robert Broom (during the height of the altercation that followed Dart's publication of the Taung child), "Keith may be keeping things back." In July 1925, Sollas wrote again about Keith, "who is indeed the most arrant humbug and artful climber in the anthropological world.... He makes the rashest statements in the face of evidence. Never quotes an author but to misrepresent him, generalises on single observations, and indeed there is scarcely a single crime in which he is not adept.... He has gone up like a rocket, and will come down like the stick" (Findlay 1972:53). As a member of the last Medical B.Sc class at the University of the Witwatersrand to receive lectures from Robert Broom, in 1945, I often heard Broom inveighing against Keith in censorious and some times unprintable terms.

We know of the bitter personal enmity that subsisted for long periods between Keith, on the one hand, and both Elliot Smith and Smith Woodward, on the other as Keith attests in his Autobiography j (1950). Are these simply instances of professional jealousy, or was there fire behind the smoke of his colleagues' suspicions? We have seen instances of such "fire" among the nine pointers enumerated above.

In fairness to Keith, it may be mentioned that he had and still has his supporters and admirers. For example Henry Field, in his autobiography The Track of Man 1953) wrote, "Since 1931, when I first met Sir Arthur in the Royal College of Surgeons, I had been under the spell of his charm and encyclopedic knowledge on anatomy and physical anthropology. For thirty-two years I have been encouraged by his sincere interest in my work. If I had to designate 'the greatest living anthropologist' it would be Sir Arthur (Keith), and most of my colleagues would concur (p. 137). T. D. McCown, who collaborated closely with Keith in the study of the Mount Cammel remains in the 1930s, spoke well of him and seems to have enjoyed a happy relationship with him, according to Elizabeth Langstroth (McCown’s widow) and K. A. R. Kennedy (a former student of McCown’s) (personal communications).


The Langham-Spencer hypothesis includes Dawson as a johnny-on-the-spot member of a team of two forgers.. It is important to point this out because Zuckerman (I990:I4) has quite erroneously stated that Spencer has exonerated Dawson.) An overweening desire for recognition and to become a Fellow of the Royal Society is adduced by Spencer as Dawson's motive. There is evidence that Dawson craved such recognition. Indeed, he achieved nomination for election to the fellowship of the Royal Society in 1913, and his candidature was renewed each year until 1916, though without success up to the time of his death (Spencer 1990b :103).

On Spencer's (1990a) analysis, two principal motives governed Keith's participation in the fraud: one was the materialisation of a particular concept of human evolution, the other career advancement and ambition. A few critics have denied the validity of the second motive.

Keith (1915, 1925) held to the view that ancestral hominids were men with essentially modem-looking crania, and he agreed with Elliot Smith that they would have possessed an essentially modem form and size of brain. He held further that creatures with such modern-looking crania were of great antiquity. The human cranium that was doctored and planted at Piltdown was of this nature, while the planted fossils of the associated fauna pointed to a Tertiary or Pliocene age. In other words, the planted specimens placed an essentially modem human cranium in an ostensibly most ancient, supposedly Tertiary deposit. The choice of specimens with which the gravel was salted provided the veriest transmogrification into "hard facts" of Keith's theory about the evolution of the cranial vault and brain.

The skull vault whose parts were planted in the Piltdown gravel was in all respects similar to the same parts of a modem human cranium save for the "surprisingly thick" calvarial bones (Dawson and Woodward 1913; Keith 1915, 1925; Boule 1973; Weidenreich 1943). Smith Woodward drew attention to this feature in his initial description of Piltdown I, citing values of 8-12 mm for the thickness in different parts of the calvaria (Dawson and Woodward 1913). These values were repeated by Keith (1915, 1925), and the point of the "extraordinary thickness"

was stressed again by Weidenreich (1943), who had had the opportunity to study the original Piltdown specimens. Keith held that "in no normal modem skull are all the bones so uniformly thick as in this recently discovered specimen," whereas this feature characterises many "ancient skulls" (Keith 1915:320) and "primitive skulls" (Sollas 1924:186).

Therefore, I put the case that a thick-boned skull was deliberately chosen with two closely related designs in mind. First, while the modernity of the fomm and size of the cranium was in keeping with Keith's preconceived idea of hominid evolution, the thickness if considered normal) offered support for the great antiquity of the specimen to which the "associated" faunal remains tes[258]tified. Secondly, the supposedly archaic feature of marked cranial thickness helped to avert any inference that the otherwise essentially modem-looking cranium was simply that of a recent or present-day subject whose body or bones had become incorporated into the "ancient" gravels.

If the desire to show the great antiquity of a mainly modern-looking cranium and brain were the intellectual part of Keith's motive, why then was the mandible chosen to accompany the cranium that of an ape? I think the principal reason for this was given away by part of Keith's comments in the discussion following Dawson' and Smith Woodward's papers at the Burlington House meeting, as faithfully recorded in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society (Dawson and Woodward 1913:I48, italics mine):

[Prof A. Keith] agreed that the reconstruction of the skull had been executed with great skill, the only point in the restoration about which he was not convinced being the chin-region of the mandible and the form of the incisor, canine, and premolar teeth. The restoration approached too nearly the characters of the chimpanzee. The very simian characters of the sub-symphysial region of the mandible, the undoubtedly large anterior teeth, the primitive characters of the skull and brain, seemed to him altogether incompatible with the Chellean age assigned by the Authors. In his opinion the skull must be assigned to the same age as the mammalian remains, which were admittedly Pliocene. In the speaker's opinion, tertiary man had thus been discovered in Sussex. In coming to this conclusion the speaker was influenced by the fact that in the Heidelberg jaw, which was of early Pleistocene date, the symphysial region of the jaw was essentially human in its markings and characters; whereas the same features in the [Piltdown] remains just described were simian, and therefore presumably much earlier.

In other words, had a modem type of mandible been included, it would have been reasonable to conclude that the entire skull (cranium and jaw) was no older than that of Heidelberg, that is, of the Pleistocene epoch. It might even have been averred that the Piltdown remains represented a morphologically modern man of later or recent times whose bones were intrusive into the supposedly very early or Pliocene beds. By the choice of so "archaic-looking" or "simian" a mandible, the case was strengthened that Piltdown man was presumably much earlier than Heidelberg man from Germany. This argument, inferred from the "apelike" jaw, was restated and developed by Keith in The Antiquity of Man (1925: 507-8). He summed up with the statement that the simian chin region of the Piltdown mandible (in contrast with what he called the human-like chin region of the Heidelberg jaw) "suggests that Piltdown man represents, as the animal remains accompanying him suggest, a Pliocene form. I am of the opinion that future discoveries will prove that the remains found at Piltdown represent the first trace yet found in Europe of Pliocene man" (Keith 1925:508).

Secondly, a somewhat different aspect, namely, the influence of the mandible on the inferred place of Piltdown in hominid evolution, was stressed by Keith in New Discoveries Relating to the Antiquity of Man (1931): "It must be remembered that if we had found only the cranial parts of the Piltdown man we should never have hesitated in regarding him as the direct ancestral type of modern man; the simian features of his lower jaw and of his teeth led us to exclude him from this position" (pp. 455-56).

A third reason for the choice of an ape mandible to accompany the manifestly human skull was to create the impression that here, at last, was the long-sought part-ape, part-human being envisaged as an ancestor. In Keith's (1925:503) own words, "the skull thus reconstructed by Sir A. Smith Woodward was a strange blend of man and ape. At last, it seemed, the missing form– the link which early followers of Darwin had searched for–had really been discovered."

One of Keith's major motives, on this scenario, was to establish the case for a particular kind of human ancestor, as conceived by him, but also a fossil man whose provenance and morphology showed that it was earlier and therefore more important than any other fossil hominid then known, at least in Europe.

The second suggested motive was Keith's powerful ambition and strong desire for career advancement. With hindsight, there is little doubt that of all the Piltdown men it was Keith whose career benefitted most from Piltdown. The trend started, perhaps, with Keith's very words at the Burlington House meeting: "Prof. A. Keith regarded the discovery of fossil human remains just announced as by far the most important ever made in England, and of equal, if not of greater consequence than any other discovery yet made, either at home or abroad" (Dawson and Woodward 1913:148). Of the various discussants whose views were cited in the Quarterly Journal, Keith alone greeted the discovery with unalloyed enthusiasm. He maintained his almost effusive and exaggeratedly fervid estimation of it in The Antiquity of Man (Keith 1925), in which he called the skull "the most important and instructive of all ancient human documents yet discovered in Europe" (p. 486} and "one of the most remarkable discoveries of the twentieth century" (p. 501).

Since the publication of Spencer's books, the claim that Keith was actuated by ambition has been vigorously opposed. Thus it has been suggested that Keith "was not 'one of the most eminent anthropologists,' he was the foremost anthropologist of his time. He had already achieved this position at the time of the Piltdown discovery and he had no need to 'boost his own career'!" and that "Keith had reached the top of the tree" [Smith 1990). Similarly, Kennedy (1991:309) holds that, when the fossil hoax was manufactured, Keith was "at the apex of his career." If we look at the facts, however, we note that, at the time of the Piltdown discovery, and a fortiori when the hoax was being prepared and the gravel salted, Keith had not yet been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and his candidature had twice been rejected; his first great book on human evolution, The [259] Antiquity of Man, had not been started, and his contributions had not been recognised with a knighthood. These three marks of attainment to a pinnacle of achievement were still in the future: Keith's F.R.S. came in the spring of 1913, his Antiquity of Man was to appear in 1915, and his knighthood was to be attained in 1921 (Keith 1950).

From his Weekly Diaries (1I907-70) and from his Autobiography we know that Keith's candidature for fellowship of the Royal Society had been rejected in 1911I and again in 1912. Thus, on March 25, 1911, this entry appears in the Weekly Diaries: "The Royal Society gave me a slap in the face by rejecting me as a prospective fellow...." Again, on March 3, 191(2, Keith writes, "Royal Society still left me out so I have made up my mind to be content without it. Rather foolish a man at 46 needing qualifications and fellowships. Besides I don't think the men already elected are really quite capable of judging good and bad work" (Spencer, personal communication). However, in the Autobiography, Keith makes clear how much he had craved a fellowship (p. 363, italics mine):

In the spring of 1913 there came to me an honour for which I had waited impatiently . . . election to the Royal Society. Perhaps my impatience at being kept waiting so long ... was unreasonable.... The note which I made in my diary when rejected in 1911 reads thus: "So I have made up my mind to be content without the fellowship; it is rather foolish for a man at the age of forty-six to be in need of qualifications and fellowships." The truth is, I was not content. The note made in 1913, when I was elected, is somewhat different: "Thus one of the goals I expected to reach ten years ago comes now."

How important The Antiquity of Man was to rate in Keith's career is testified to by Keith himself: "my chief claim to recognition as a man of science–my extensive researches into the anatomy of anthropoids and of man–remained unpublished [in 1913]" (p. 363) . Tha work started out to be a full account of Piltdown and metamorphosed into The Antiquity of Man (1915).

By these three criteria, one must conclude that Keith had not reached the top of the tree when this elaborate hoax was conceived, planned, and prepared and whne the Piltdown "remains" were planted, presumably during1911 or perhaps earlier. At that stage of his career Keith still had much to which to aspire.

The twofold motivation attributed by Spencer (1990a ), to Keith is thus strongly supported and, I submit, strengthened by the present analysis.

Summation on the Case against Keith

From my study of the available evidence on the Piltdown affaire I conclude, first, that, although some aspects of the forgery give the impression of ineptitude such as the preparation of the "mandibular canine" and of the cricket-bat implement–the conception as whole and the choice of materials, hominoid and other, betray an elaborate and ingenious plot. The design of the fraud requires knowledge of human and primate anatomy and probably pathology, of archaeology, palaeontology and palaeoanthropology, of geology and geochronology, and of the interplay of those factors. I have ended my survey with a healthy respect for the breadth of knowledge and insight displayed by those responsible and with the conviction that Charles Dawson is most unlikely to have been able to conceive the broad plan and to plot the minutiae of its execution on his own, however enthusiastic and wide-ranging his interests and activities as a natural historian, collector, antiquarian, and seeker after knowledge (pace Langdon 1991 and Kennedy 1991). I therefore support the notion, first flirted with by Weiner (1953)' that Dawson had a scientist-accomplice.

Secondly, from a close study of the Langham-Spencer case against Keith, during the course of which I have brought to light several new lines of argument, I conclude that, of all the proposals that have been made as to the identity of a scientist-accomplice of Dawson, the hypothesis incriminating Keith is the most convincing and logical and is supported by the greatest body of evidence.

The most telling evidence against Keith relates to events and writings at or close to the time of the Piltdown "discoveries." This contrasts strongly with the main burden of Gould's case against Teilhard, in respect of which the evidence is based largely on writings and occurrences long after the Piltdown "discoveries" and even after the uncovering of the hoax. The contemporary evidence is more persuasive and cogent than the retrospective evidence. When to this principle is added the factor of age and declining vitality and memory at the time when the retrospective evidence was given, the conclusion seems inescapable that the evidence against Keith is far more compelling than that against Teilhard.

Keith undoubtedly commanded the wide and profound knowledge and evolutionary perspective which the intricacies of the hoax demanded, and he possessed such knowledge at the time in question. Keith had ready access to the materials that were prepared and planted. In his laboratory, Keith had the opportunity to modify and stain the specimens, or he could have done so through Dawson's home and office. Through his association with Dawson, Keith had the opportunity to salt the gravel beds of the Piltdown area. Preeminently, as a man of driving ambition and one with a very firmly held concept of how hominid evolution had occurred despite the lack of any fossils to support that concept, Keith had motives. No other colleague of Dawson fulfils the five desiderata enunciated above more plausibly, more logically, or more credibly than Arthur Keith.

Keith, Piltdown, and Taung

We detect another motivation, a hidden agenda, behind Keith's long-lasting and vehement opposition to Australopithecus.

In November 1924, a dozen years after the Piltdown [260] "discovery" was announced, the Taung skull was discovered in what was then the northern part of the Cape Province of South Africa (Dart, 1925). Its principal morphological features were the very antithesis of the Piltdown remains: to judge by its endocranial capacity, Taung had a small brain, no larger than that of the living great apes, but human-like teeth. Piltdown had a large brain, no smaller than that of modern man, but very apelike teeth and jaw. When Dart published the first account of the Taung specimen in 1925, it came as a shock to most people, especially to those who were convinced that the Piltdown remains represented a true human ancestor (Washburn, 1985, Tobias 1985).

Clearly if Taung and Australopithecus proved to be correctly appraised as early hominids or aspirant-hominids, Piltdown could not have been an ancestor, and its bona fides would have been suspected. On the other hand, if Piltdown were correctly seen as a very early (Pliocene) fossil hominid ancestor, then Taung would have had to be relegated to the status of no more than an unusual ape – and that was the burden of Keith's argument against Taung. Keith's authoritative acceptance of Piltdown and his equally authoritative rejection of Australopithecus were large responsible for delaying the world's acceptance of the Taung child and of all those other australopithecines that came later from Stterkfontein, Kromdraai, Makapansgat, and Swartkrans, as early members of the Hominidae (although Keith recanted (1947) after he had received Broom's and Scheper's (1946) monograph on the South African Australopithecinae).

Leakey and Goodall (1969:145) drew attention to this historical interaction between views about Piltdown and those about Taung:

the conclusions drawn from the Piltdown forgery undoubtedly played a part in causing

many people to reject the evidence of the Australopithecines that had been found by

Dart and Broom in South Africa. It was argued that if, by the beginning of the Pleisto-

cene, or even at the end of the Pliocene (which is where some people placed the

Piltdown find), man had had a brain of approximately modern size but associated with

an almost ape-like mandible, it was impossible to accept that the Australopithecines,

with such very small brains, could be man's immediate predecessors, especially since

their teeth were even more like those of man than were the Piltdown teeth.

Howells (1967:305) states that "our understanding of the australopithecines . . . were . . . a factor in forcing the exposure of Piltdown." In 1985 the interrelationship between the history of Piltdown acceptance and Taung rejection was reiterated (Washburn, 1985, Tobias, 1985).

Largely through the person of Keith, the history of the Piltdown forgery and that of the Taung skull (and of the other australopithecines) were almost inextricably interwoven for a considerable part of the present century. It would be no exaggeration to claim that the Piltdown fraud and Keith's avid espousal of the Piltdown remains held up the advance of palaeoanthropology for a quarter of a century. It is difficult to escape the view that at least one motive, perhaps the main one, behind Keith' s sustained and relentless opposition to Dart's and Broom's claims for Australopithecus was his perceived need to defend Piltdown, on which so much of his career and time were erected. Keith saw Taung and the others as a challenge to the mind-set crystallised in the Piltdown fake.

By the middle of the 20th century there was simply no place for Piltdown in the developing scenario of hominid evolution. Even Keith realised this: "If we could get rid of the Piltdown

fossil fragments, then we should greatly simplify the problem of human evolution" (Keith 1948:229). Weidenreich (1943:173) went straight to the bone: "Eoanthropus should be erased from the list of human fossils. It is the artificial combination of fragments of a modern-human braincase with orang-utan-like mandible and teeth." Whilst Eoanthropus appeared to fill a conceptual lacuna in 1912, by mid-century it was totally at variance with the prevailing palaeoanthropological paradigm. Its paradoxical position in the burgeoning store of fossil hominids forced its critical re-examination with the help of new analytical tools. Finally, as a tribute to the vigour of the scientific method, the hoax was uncovered, and the identity of the forgers has been revealed with a high degree of probability.





Peter J. Bowler

Department of Social Anthropology, Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland. 16 x 91

As someone who has described the Piltdown affair as a "trivial whodunit," I am less than enthusiastic about Tobias's article. My objections centre on the amount of scholarly effort (and publication space) that is being wasted on these apparently endless speculations and the fact tht close concentration on the minutiae of the Piltdown affair seems to distract from rather than contribute to serious historical study of early-20th-centruy palaeoanthropology.

When I first heard about the Langham-Spencer thesis, I hoped that they would be able to bring the whole affair to an end. The fact that Tobias has had to produce the article shows that the evidence is not conclusive and that the affair is almost certainly going to stagger on. Spencer's book demonstrates that Keith knew Dawson and knew about the Piltdown site at an earlier date than he would later admit. This is admittedly suspicious, but it is not proof that Keith manufactured the ape jaw, and everything else is as circumstantial a the cases that have been built against other parties. There are other conceivable reasons Keith might have wished to conceal [261] knowledge of the early contacts – perhaps Dawson had tried to embroil him in the affair from the beginning and he had expressed a reluctance he later regretted.

My main reason for doubting the Spencer thesis is that Keith's theoretical position predicted the discovery of anatomically modern humans as far back as the Pliocene. Tobias tries to explain why he should have planted an ape jaw, and his claim that this helped to substantiate the antiquity of the remains is plausible at first sight. But we must remember that even Keith's own very modernized reconstruction of Eoanthropus was still too ape-like to count as the human ancestor within his own theory. If he had planted an ape jaw, he could hardly have been surprised that Smith Woodward and others should have reconstructed the finds in a way that emphasized their intermediate status even further. To plant an ape jaw and then spend the rest of your life trying to minimize its ape characters seems counterproductive to me. If Keith was a villain, he was a remarkably incompetent one when measured against his own hypothesis on human origins. He would have been better off without the jaw.

Tobias's claim that Kieth's guilt explains his hostility to the discovery of Australopithecus is a case of putting the cart a long way before the horse. Europeans had a deep-seated cultural preference for Central Asia as the source of human origins, coupled with a disgust for all things African based on racism (Bowler, 1986, 1989). Central Asia was promoted in the late 19th century by evolutionists such as W. Boyd Dawkins. In the early 20th century it was supported by palaeontologistgs such as W. D. Matthew and H. F. Osborn and by Davidson Black [the discoverer of "Peking Man"]. Of course, Piltdown fitted this paradigm, but to claim that Piltdown can explain Keith's own hostility to an African origin is to betray a complete lack of understanding of the cultural environment within which the discoveries were debated. Hardly anyone would have taken an African discovery seriously in the 1920s, even without Piltdown, because the Central Asian thesis expressed fundamental prejudices of the time. Central Asia remained the preferred location into the 1930s, by which time many experts were already beginning to ignore Piltdown as something of an anomaly.


Andrew T. Chamberlain

Department of Archaeology and Prehistory, University of Sheffiel, Sheffield S10 2 TN, U. K.

19 xii 91

According to a recent commentator, the continuing interest in the pursuit of the Piltdown forger(s) is more akin to a parlour game than to an attempt to contribute to intellectual history (Chippindale 1990). One perspective holds that the fake fossils were planted in the Piltdown gravels as an act of humourous or mischievous deception. Such hoaxes are by no means new to science and serve, inter alia, to warn specialists of the danger of complacency and overconfidence. The more serious charge is that of fraud–an act or course of deception deliberately practised to gain unlawful or unfair advantage. It is testimony to the continuing social naivety of Western science that even today there is a paucity of effective measures to detect and prosecute fraudulent actions (Smith 1991), whereas in other spheres of economic activity similar crimes merit lengthy investigation and the severest penalties. The complexity of the Piltdown deception may imply that the forger had access to specialist knowledge. Hence the belated pursuit of a perpetrator who must, by now, be comfortable in his or her grave.

In the most recent substantive contribution to the Piltdown inquiry, Spencer (1990a, b ) has constructed an elaborate coffin in which to bury the scientific reputation of one of the major Piltdown protagonists, Sir Arthur Keith. Tobias, in an instructive and characteristically eloquent postscript to Spencer’s work, endeavors to drive his own well-chosen nails into the casket bearing Keith’s name. I suspect, however, that both Spencer and Tobias have overstated the value of the circumstantial evidence that makes up the bulk of the case against Keith. For example, with regard to the charge that Keith had prior knowledge of the Piltdown excavations, as revealed by the details given in the editorial in the British Medical Journal published shortly after the Burlington House meeting, Tobias claims that the location of the fossil site and the nature of the initial discovery (the "cocoa-nut" incident) were not disclosed at that meeting. However, the subsequent written account of the meeting by Dawson and Woodward (1913) states that the farm where the fossils were excavated was located "close to Piltdown Common, Fletching"–words similar to those used by Keith (1912a ). Furthermore, while the "cocoa-nut" story was omitted from Dawson and Woodward’s official account, the incident is accurately recounted in contemporary newspaper coverage of the Burlington House meeting and is confirmed by notes prepared by Dawson for his oral presentation at the meeting (Spencer 1990a : 196, 1990b :15-16).

Keith’s purportedly misleading response to Weiner on being questioned about his first meeting with Dawson is also held to imply collusion between the two individuals. Yet Keith's letter to Weiner, written on the day after he was interviewed by Oakley and Weiner, states that January 28, 1913, was the occasion of the first personal meeting between himself and Dawson (Spencer 1990b :222). This statement presumably did not preclude earlier, professional encounters between the two men. Tobias further claims that Keith misrepresented the views put forward by Shattock (1913) on the pathological nature of the Piltdown skull. Shattock, however, subsequently changed his mind, as is shown by Woodward’s (1948:61) account of consultation with him concerning the Piltdown cranial fragments: "Dr. S. G. Shattock, of the Royal College of Surgeons, was especially interested in them, and it was not until he had examined them repeatedly that he was convinced that they were not diseased."

[262] Circumstantial evidence such as that outlined above often accommodates a variety of interpretations, but the case against Keith is further damaged by the nature of the canine tooth discovered by Teilhard de Chardin at Piltdown in 1913. This element of the forgery was clearly designed to support Woodward and Elliot Smith’s reconstruction of the Piltdown cranium rather than the alternative, more prognathic reconstruction proposed by Keith. It is interesting that both Tobias and Spencer dismiss the case against Elliot Smith, Spencer (1990a :172) being of the opinion that it is impossible to link Elliot Smith to the events at Piltdown prior to the discoveries of 1912. A most promising link is provided by Teilhard de Chardin: he and Elliot Smith were contemporaries in Egypt from 1905 to 1908, shortly before their arrival in England. Elliot Smith occupied the chair of anatomy in the Government Medical School at Cairo, while Teilhard de Chardin taught in the College de la Sainte-Famille in the same city. Both men had close and regular contacts with the Cairo Museum.



Christopher Chippindale

Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Downing St. Cambridge CB2 3DZ, England 22 xi 91

With Tobias, some of the reviewers of Spencer’s two Piltdown books have been convinced by the case against Sir Arthur Keith as the culprit, whilst other suspects remain under the shadow of suspicion. My own review in Science (Chippindale, 1990) grumbled instead about the whole Piltdown industry, which is why I called it "Piltdown: Who Dunit? Who Cares?" By Tobias’s arithmetic, at least 21 Piltdown suspects have so far been accused, "on circumstantial evidence of varying degrees of confidence," and the cases against 11 are thought worth mentioning in his paper. Some of these are thin to the point of absurdity. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote detective stories, lived near by, knew the Piltdown discoverer socially, interested himself in human evolution–and so he has been named as the Piltdown hoaxer. This case, Tobias notes, "has been dismissed by most critics as far-fetched." If it is one of his 11 more solid accusations, what are the slighter 10 like? Here is the trouble with the Piltdown industry: in part, it has been the imagination of amateur sleuths playing at "Piltdown: Who Mighta Dunit?" The scenarios they enjoy constructing are accusations of fraud, and this is why I am uncomfortable with watching the game.

Tobias, Spencer, and Langham are more serious-minded and more professional in their methods, but I do not read what they have published as now making a decisive proof. I doubt if the material to make a decisive proof anywhere exists. Tobias repeats and enlarges the Langham-Spencer case against Keith. It reads well. It may convince. It is very far from amounting to a proof that ends the affair. Consider, for example, the exchanges that have followed Spencer’s clinching evidence and the first of Tobias’s nine pointers to Keith’s guilt, the anonymous report published in the British Medical Journal on December 21, 1912. It was written by Keith, according to his diary, on December 16–two days before the meeting at which Piltdown was unveiled; to write beforehand in this way, Keith must have had inside knowledge, and therefore he must have been the forger. Grigson, reviewing Spencer (Grigson

1990b ) and in a later exchange with him in the Times Literary Supplement (Spencer 1991b , Grigson 1991), doubts if this is actually decisive. Like many weekly magazines, then and now, the British Medical Journal worked to a rapid production schedule that would have allowed an account written beforehand to be revised or enlarged in a proof stage after the December 18 meeting and before its publication. Grigson thinks (personal communication, October 1991) that this element to the case against Keith therefore fails. Tobias identifies in the BMJ article details which he believes were not presented at the meeting: as the article contains information that remained privileged after the meeting, the printing time-table is not decisive. Spencer (personal communication, October 1991) thinks that this element to the case against Keith therefore stands.

As do other workers in the Piltdown gravel-pit of detection, Tobias has to infer motive from material evidence which is not strong enough either to lead to a conviction or – equally – to resist an advocate’s belief in guilt. Grigson holds a position at the Royal College of Surgeons, where Keith was anatomist, so Spencer (1991b ) suggest that her questioning of the case against Keith follows from that institutional affiliation rather than a concern for historical truth. I suppose a glum view of the motives that direct colleagues may begin to grow if one spends one’s time in pursuit of chances for suspicion. What a criminal and a policeman have in common is that they both make their living out of crime. We would do better to recognize that reworking of everything so far dug out of the Piltdown quarries has not yielded and may never be able to yield a decisive identification.

The more important point, which Tobias states well, is the role of the Piltdown forgery in briefly deflecting the course of theory about human evolution. An admittance of Piltdown, "advanced skull plus backward jaw," discouraged or ruled out an admittance of Taung, "backward skull and advanced jaw." The real evidence won in the end and would surely have done so sooner if a decisive quantity of australopithecine finds had come to light earlier. This encourages me to persist in believing that fraud and other slippery carrying-on – however fashionable these are now said to be in biological science – are not and were not central to research as almost every one of us tries to practise it and that they rarely divert understanding far and long from a truer course. This aspect, a valuable part of Spencer’s book and of Tobias’s paper, cheers me. For the rest, I still don’t know who dunit at Piltdown, and I still won’t care until t here is a better class of answer than the debate so far has been able to offer.


[263] Robin W. Dennell

Department of Archaeology and Prehistory, University of Sheffield, Sheffield SIO 2 TN, U.K. 7.1.92

Tobias has written a characteristically lengthy, exhaustive, and critical piece on the continually fascinating Piltdown fraud. He is successful in strengthening Spencer's suspicions of Keith as the main culprit and in emphasising Piltdown's significance not just as a fraud that helped delay the acceptance of A. africanus by a quarter-century but as an example of how science proceeds and is evaluated. In the latter regard, I feel that, however convincing his case against Keith, his paper betrays the same prejudices, assumptions, and limitations as most previous writings on this topic.

As Tobias relates, more than 20 persons have been suggested as suspects since 1951, when Weiner tumbled to the truth that was almost perceived by Merritt, working from casts, in 1915. Every single one of these proposed culprits has been male. Almost all (Caroline Grigson apart of the writers on the subject have been male. And without exception, everyone with a view to air has worked on the assumption that whoever fooled the experts had also to be an expert–and thus, by implication, had to be male, since at that time, all experts were male.

It is this aspect of the Piltdown whodunit industry that I find the most peculiar. The ready explanation for it, of course, is that men occupied all the key posts in the learned societies, the universities, and the museums and were thus in place to be hoaxing or hoaxed. Weiner was convinced that Dawson was the culprit. If Dawson had been deceived, Weiner argued, the perpetrator must have been someone with "amazingly intimate and detailed knowledge of Dawson's interests and affairs,' with "unrestricted access to Barkham Manor, " and ''well aware of Dawson's instruction to the labourers' (Weiner 1955: 200-2OI). In the absence of such a person (always referred to by Weiner as "he"), Dawson remained the principal villain. Surely at least Dawson’s wife might have been considered, if only to be dismissed? We need not assume that the perpetrator has to be an "expert"; as Langdon (1991:627) has pointed out, Eoanthropus "is merely an imitation fossil that an amateur with common sense might have devised"). In a photograph in Weiner's book (1955:fig. 8) of a visit to the Piltdown site by a party from the Geological Association, at least half of the party are women. Who were they? Can we assume that they just tagged along with their husbands for the picnic afterwards? Surely this photograph implies that there were women in Edwardian England with an interest in palaeontology, in Pleistocene geology, and in human evolution, even if they were marginalised at the time. Might there no have been women in the Piltdown circle who thought that men were not quite as clever as they pretended and might even be fooled by someone denied access to academic equality on grounds of her sex?

Piltdown historians have been remarkably uninterested in the private lives of their suspects. Most of the possible culprits were married, and, for all we know some may also have had affairs and mistresses. Do we know that all was serene and tranquil on the domestic front? Were all their female relatives obligingly loyal, contented, uninterested in fossils, and happy to leave the study of human evolution to their menfolk? Or are historians seeking to present a view of science as somehow a public, male profession safely separate from its domestic context? If families can engender sufficient feelings to commit murder, why not also revenge and deception? Surely, unless the net is widened to include the female members of the Piltdown circle, only half the possible range of suspects has been considered.


F. G. Fedele

Section and Museum of Anthropology, University of Naples, via Mezzocannone 8, 80134 Napoli, Italy. 5 Xl 9I

Building on Langham's and Spencer's investigations and fully accepting their conclusions, Tobias mounts an impassioned case in support of so grave an accusation, bringing to it the considerable weight of his experience, anatomical perceptions, and ethical instincts. The paper is a well-argued and wide-ranging report of his own findings and feelings. Furthermore, it is written in the personal vein of someone who in his student days had to live under the shadow of the Piltdown puzzle.

The several interwoven themes dealt with in the article receive, in my opinion, unequal treatment as to length and force of persuasion. One is the impact of Piltdown on the science of anthropology. I entirely agree that the Piltdown forgery is of enduring historical relevance not just for anthropology but for the history and philosophy of science. It surely contributed to the prolonged exclusion of Australopithecus from hominid ancestry, thus delaying for decades the acceptance of a whole new paradigm in human evolution. This argument, which understandably elicits Tobias's fervour, can hardly be disputed. Tobias's reasons for pursuing the identity of the hoaxer are also commendable.

In assessing the role of Piltdown in the unfortunate response to Taung, however, it seems to me that too much attention has so far been focused on the British scene, however important it was at the time. This may lead to oversimplification. No less dangerous is the pitting of Australopithecus against Eoanthropus as though they were direct competitors. They may have been so to many authorities in Britain, where the anthropological establishment of the 20s and 30s scathingly rejected Raymond Dart as a scholar–an ironic turn indeed, as it had been at Elliot Smith's and especially Keith's instigation that Dart had gone to South Africa (cf. Keith 1950:480). In other Anglophone circles, however, Dart and his "child" were better received (Reed 1983). William King Gregory's appreciation (e.g., 1930; cf. Howells 1985) is a resounding example. Robert Broom in South Africa was able to accommodate Piltdown and the australopithecines in his own mind, albeit confusedly. For what it is worth, an equanimous attitude towards all the [264] great discoveries of the early 20th century–including La Chapelle-aux-Saints, Mauer, Piltdown, Taung, and Zhoukoudian–may have prevailed in Italy and other parts of Europe, at least after 1930.

Moreover, as Piltdown was only part of a broader "climate of opinion" and "pattern of belief" (Washburn 1985:4), it was the intellectual context as a whole that eventually inspired coolness towards the early African finds. Piltdown should perhaps be seen as only the material culmination of a particular way of thinking. As has been shown by Hammond (1979) and succinctly rephrased by Lewin (1989:62), to understand fully the exclusion of Taung from the human family one has to understand not only the acceptance of Piltdown but also the expulsion of the Neandertals. One may even venture to suggest that the dismissal of Dart's fossil was affected only slightly less by Sinanthropus than by the "Earliest Englishman" from Barkham Manor. I would favour a more nuanced view of the historical relationships of the fossils and scholars involved, however confrontational the style of argument in certain quarters.

Tobias is certainly aware of this broader perspective, as is Spencer (1979, 1990a ), who competently apprehends the intellectual climate of the times. But there are moments in this paper when the author appears to have been led a bit astray by the sheer ardour of his prosecution. This shows up in other main themes of the paper, such as the list of charges against Keith, the implementation of the Piltdown fraud, or the characterization of fraud in science.

For instance, we read again that the Piltdown fraud would have required extensive knowledge in disparate fields, a claim emphatically made by Clark (cf. Howells 1967:304,; Miller 1972:224).. Competence in anatomy and the manipulation of old bones was obviously necessary, along with familiarity with the gravel beds of Sussex–but why imply the need for a professional understanding of so many other disciplines? I am not fully convinced.

Not all lines of evidence against Keith have equal value, and I am not sure that piling them up actually adds to the strength of the case. A breakthrough on two or three critical points would suffice to crack the case. I am inclined to agree that Tobias and Langham and Spencer in the first place have made some genuine discoveries. Finding Keith's covert connection with Charles Dawson before December 18, 1912, is a breakthrough. Keith's selective burning of his own correspondence with Dawson is another, and damning behaviour at that. Did he do it in February 1947, aged 80, when he saw his credo of a lifetime crumble and had to admit "that Prof. Dart was right and that I was wrong" [Keith 1947 ?). If correct, detecting the workings of two accomplices is also very important. Thus it is disturbing to see unnecessary anecdotal detail presented as incriminating evidence instead of just the normal behaviour of a very ambitious man. There must be simpler explanations than deceitful purpose for such episodes as his not finding the Piltdown site on a weekend visit with his wife or his dropping from time to time a correspondent's "white lie." Casual behaviour and minor character flaws are not necessarily evidence of a deliberate pattern of deceit.

This discussion will remind some readers of another historic case, the accusation of mendacity and archaeological fraud levelled against Heinrich Schliemann (Calder 1982, Traill 1983). In fact it seems likely that inconsistencies in his diaries and bouts of erratic behaviour are to be explained by the hyperactive and mildly neurotic temperament of this man (cf. Niederland 1967) rather than by a will to deceive. Schliemann loved romantic embellishment and always held a heroic vision of his life, but that is entirely different from fraudulence {Easton 1984, Fedele 1985). Easton's thoughtful remarks may perhaps be applied to Keith: as "it does not mean that behind every discrepancy there squats another lie," "we should beware of wholesale condemnations" (p. 198).

Other important aspects of the Piltdown affair badly need exploration: the fraud's specific evolution, if any, and the internal dynamics of scientific fraud in general. Tobias hardly touches upon the former, and we have not, I think, heard the last word on either. Scientific frauds need not always start as the mature fabrications they seem with hindsight, nor are they invariably an attack on the supposed sanctity of science. One wonders whether an undertaking like Piltdown might not have developed a life of its own after humble beginnings. If, for example, it had all started in a scholar's mind as a shortcut to recognition–with Keith the likeliest candidate so far proposed and Dawson as the accomplice– then Piltdown might have been conceived as a quick and not all that risky way of making a paleoanthropological point, little more than a simple impropriety that evolved into major misconduct. Howells (1967:304-5) even spoke of a "joke" that outdistanced the joker.

Piltdown was the ultimate product of a persistent obsession with the primacy of the brain. The skull was "perfectly tailored theoretically" to suit an expectation or a wish: "the cherished hope of a larger-brained ancestor" at the dawn of humankind {Lewin 1989:70, 83), integral with the idea of "a long, separate, non-anthropoid ancestry for man" (Howells 1985:24). In such a context a deeply involved scientist (Keith?) firmly believed a certain anthropological prophecy to be true and employed a convenient fake to quicken the pace of the scientific process, probably convinced that the prophecy would sooner or later be fulfilled by proper, unfabricated data. Is such a scenario untestable or untenable in the light of the available evidence?


Paul Graves

36 New Rd., Littlehampton, West Sussex BNI7 5AT, England . 5 xii 91

Tobias's review presents an authoritative and convincing account of this intractable case. One often gets the impression that just about every contemporary figure has been suspected of the Piltdown fraud. Tobias's article and Spencer's (1990) work finally offer to close the [165] casebook. . I must admit that, despite Tobias's cogent arguments, I can summon little interest in the apportionment of blame in this case–it all seems such a long time ago–but I do find the general issue of scientific fraud intriguing.

What do we mean by "fraud"? Peter Medawar once gave a radio talk entitled "Is the Scientific Paper a Fraud?" (Medawar 1963) in which he suggested that, in their presentation of methodology and results, scientists "tidied up" the messy business of hypothesis, experiment, and interpretation. Clearly the Piltdown case was more than a "massaging" of results, but there is a sense in which all scientific argument is at least selective in its presentation of the facts. In the now famous phrase of one British diplomat, all scientists can be "economical with the truth" when it suits them.

Selectivity is, of course, an unavoidable consequence of presenting a coherent account of events, but the line between parsimony and fraud is a fine one. Recent controversy surrounding Sibley and Ahlquist's DNA hybridisation studies of hominid/hominoid divergence (Britten 1989; Lewin 1988a, b ) suggests that a quite innocent selectivity in the presentation of results and the use of statistical techniques can be interpreted as a willful fraud. Similar misinterpretations of intention have cast doubt on the work of Gregor Mendel (Alan Costall, personal communication). Should all presentations of primary research be required to include raw data? The case of the late Sir Cyril Burt shows how the manipulation of results can hide a multitude of sins (Beloff 1980, Gillie 1976, Party for Workers' Power 1973). Burt's claims about inherent differences in IQ had far more serious consequences than the Piltdown fraud, yet they were at least in part a matter of rather extreme massaging of results (Audrey and Rawles 1990). Indeed, by contrast, the very boldness of the Piltdown fakes was their undoing.

Ethically, science has perhaps the strictest code of truthfulness that one could find. In the law, it would seem, the selective, not to say biased, presentation of evidence is at the core of the advocate's art. In the world of fine art, the role of the forger can sometimes become almost heroic. Tom Keating, for example, has been regarded as a crusader against the greed, humbug, and pretension of art "experts" and dealers–an interpretation he certainly placed on his art forging activities (Keating, Norman, and Norman 1977). But even if the Piltdown fakes were a joke at the expense of the "experts," no one really seems to have been laughing at their discomfiture. Indeed, Gould (1983) suggests that the "joke," if joke it was, went so sour that it forced Teilhard de Chardin to remain silent on the matter.

I am sure that Tobias is right in his analysis of Keith's designs. The support of strongly held belief often seems to be a basic motive for scientific fraud (see, e.g., the cases of Lysenko (Gould 1983|) and Burt (Beloff 1980). The question of ambition is perhaps more disturbing. Undoubtedly, competition in scientific research has increased markedly in the last 70-80 years. This is not simply a product of the expansion of the "scientific community." Given the difficulty of obtaining a tenured university post in recent years, reasons for the honing of the competitive edge are not hard to see. I find it hardly surprising that scientific fraud is a "growth industry." In anthropology and archaeology it often seems as if the adoption of a controversial position, whether one believes in it or not, has become essential to any "hard-sell" bid for notoriety. This is at least dishonesty, if not fraud. Meanwhile, with the growth of relativistic paradigms in some areas of debate, it almost seems as if the concept of truth is considered obsolete! Perhaps this is too pessimistic a view–ambition is unlikely to have been a recent development in human evolution. Nevertheless, it would seem that, as methodologies become more sophisticated and complex, the opportunities for fraud multiply faster than the means of detection.

Every good lie depends on telling people what they want to hear–the "Earliest Englishman" was, as Tobias points out, a case par excellence of the principle. But this leaves us with a difficult question. If one wanted to perpetrate a Piltdown fraud for the 1990s (or even the 2000s), what would it be, Clearly, various heated debates in palaeoanthropology could generate such a fraud–the origins of genus Homo or the origin of "modem" humans being two fairly obvious examples. I cannot decide what it is that we want to hear, but I suggest that the potential medium for such a fraud is all too clear.

The fundamental problem for any latter-day Dawson and Keith would surely be that no counterfeit fossil, or indeed artefact, could long withstand detailed scrutiny under the battery of techniques now at our disposal. Thus, in my view, the only option for the modem forger would lie in the techniques of genetics and microbiology. Not only are these techniques probing the very boundaries of our knowledge, but the detailed understanding of the methodology remains the province of a limited number of specialists (hence, no doubt, the apparently unjustified accusations against Sibley and Ahlquist). Most worrying here is the possibility of fraud which resists refutation. The Piltdown forgeries were real objects, and this made them vulnerable to detection. A fraud which is perpetrated "on paper" cannot be disposed of with the same certainty. Indeed, the debate about Burt's guilt or innocence continues (Audrey and Rawles 1990, Pletcher 1987, Heamshaw 1990, Joynson 1989). Does the new Piltdown already exist as a set of numbers in a computer memory? Let us hope not.


Caroline Grigson

Royal College of Surgeons of England, 3S-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PN, England. 5 XII 9I

I suppose that at the time Tobias submitted his paper he had not read my letter (Grigson 1991) to the Times Literary Supplement in response to Spencer's letter (1991b ) criticizing my review of his books (Grigson 1990b ), in which I refuted many of the arguments he now reiterates from Spencer's book. I wrote that "many [266] of the inconsistencies claimed by Spencer do not stand up to examination and the fact that some may not contradict the hypothesis that he was party to the forgery in no way proves 'beyond a reasonable doubt' that he was." For example, with regard to the events of the week of the meeting of the Geological Society, Spencer's "string of non- sequiturs [about Keith's article for the British Medical Journal ] falls apart when one checks the facts. P. W. J. Bartripp of Wolfson College Oxford . . . tells me that it would have been quite possible for material to have been inserted between a Wednesday and a Friday night because in those days the type for the BMJ was set at its offices in the Strand, only a few minutes' walk from the Royal College of Surgeons." Further, Spencer does not tell us what the information was that Keith could not have had without being party to the fraud, and "even if Keith had had privileged information there were several people who could have given it to him directly or indirectly. It is known that Ray Lankester had visited Piltdown before the meeting and that he wrote to Reid Moir about it–Keith's weekly diary records that he dined with Reid Moir on the very day of the meeting."

Again, with regard to Dawson's work on the 13th vertebra,

do visitors to Museums usually meet the Directors? Of course not. Dawson stated with glee that he had done the work under the very nose of Keith.... I can see no reason why he should not have investigated the 13th vertebra; it was only a matter of counting the vertebrae in a few human skeletons on display in the Museum and photographing them without permission. I can see no significance in the fact that Keith was slow in reviewing a book on the subject.


Spencer states that when interviewed Keith said he selectively burnt his letters from Dawson. There is no indication at all in the account of that interview that the destruction was selective.... Keith carried out a vast correspondence throughout the course of a very long life; his later diaries record that the sorting and destruction went on day after day for months. If the letters he had received from Dawson had been incriminating would he not have destroyed them on receipt?

In the same letter I said that it was not (as Spencer suggests) my institutional affiliation to the Royal College which led me to reject his theory that Keith masterminded the forgery but the weakness of the "evidence" against him. This was a rather silly slight on my intellectual integrity which I would have ignored if the subject had not been raised again; suffice it to say that whilst my researches in the Royal College's archives have led me to admire Keith for his persistence in encouraging research in the college and defending its museum, they have also convinced me that he was a conceited, humourless bore with very little knowledge of archaeology.

I am sorry to have to point it out, but Tobias is not the first to "rediscover" what Shattock 1913) wrote about the pathological condition of the Piltdown skull. Spencer (1990a :230, n. 52) has already discussed it, rightly considering Shattock's conclusions ambiguous. Tobias is correct, however, in saying that Keith glossed over what Shattock wrote. Keith was in a comer: following his identification of Galley Hill man not only as human (correct) but also as the earliest human fossil known (now recognised to be incorrect) and having already written that Piltdown represented an even earlier and more primitive but still human form, he would not accept anything that interfered with that view, whether it was the pathology of the skull or the discovery of new fossils such as Taung. Reprehensible though this is, it does not make him a forger. As I have said before, his reputation has suffered more from Piltdown than anyone else's. One fact ignored by Tobias and Spencer but pointed out in my review (Grigson 1990b ) and independently by Miles (1991) is that in his old age Keith embarked on a new study of the Piltdown skull. The results involved 32 drawings and15,000 words (Keith 1938-39). Would he have bothered if he had known the skull was a forgery?

Following the publication of my suggestion (Grigson 1990a ) that Barlow might have been implicated, I received several letters from people who had known Barlow–apparently he, A. H. Bishop, and C. A. Wray (who also worked at the British Museum (Natural History) "were inveterate practical jokers up to all kinds of pranks." Dawson's numerous other forgeries are well known. Langdon (1991) has pointed out that the forgery was, from an anatomical point of view, poor. Is it too much to suppose that Dawson joined a bunch of jokers at the BMNH to perpetrate one of the most successful practical jokes of all time–so successful, indeed, that nearly 80 years later we are still wasting time on it?




G. Ainsworth Harrison Institute of Biological Anthropology, Oxford University, Oxford OX2 6QS, England. 18 XI 91

This presentation contains little that is new. Essentially it says no more than that Tobias shares Langham's and Spencer's view that Sir Arthur Keith was involved in the perpetration of the Piltdown fraud. For me the case remains as weak as ever, and I find myself guilty of many of the sins that are used as evidence against Keith–failure to remember people I have once met, not having met people I should have met, confusion over dates and slips of the tongue and pen over events and semantics, delegation of authority for access to departmental material, selective destruction of correspondence, respect of confidences and loyalty to friends, unwillingness to invade people's privacy, and being disliked by at least some people. Thank goodness I wasn't around in 1912!

Much is made of the fact that Keith appears to have known something about the location of the Piltdown site before the Geological Society meeting of December [267] 18, 1912, and more than was then said or, at least, later published. But everyone accepts that he was shown the material at the British Museum on December 2 and again "a week before the famous meeting on December 18." He could hardly have failed to ask where it was found, and "some nine miles north of Lewes," "about a mile from the river" and "on a flat field" is hardly giving much away!

Some strange, sinister motive is also given to his diary entry that on January 4, 1913, he and his wife went to the Piltdown area but could not find the site. How this works to create a "smokescreen" and "to distance" him I fail to see. Nobody apparently saw the pair except the boys of whom they asked the way. Indeed, the only evidence there is for the trip is the diary entry, which hardly creates a smokescreen. Incidentally, I also failed to find the site on my first visit, since I had not appreciated how private to Barkham Manor it was.

The one piece of new evidence is the alleged misrepresentation of the findings of Shattock on the causes of the thickness of bone of the Piltdown cranium. Unfortunately, I have not been able to arrange access to this Shattock publication in time for this commentary, but on Tobias's own account Shattock excluded most of the possible pathological causes and his conclusion that it was possibly morbid is very tentative. Keith's statement sounds as much like a misquotation as a misrepresentation. Shattock survived the publication of Keith's book by nine years, yet no one has suggested that he objected to the representation. And would a guilty party have risked this possibility?

I can well understand the frustration, indeed, chagrin that South African palaeoanthropologists must have felt over the way the British Establishment, including Keith, responded to the Taung discovery. I agree that much of their dismissive attitude was due to Piltdown–but surely it was because they believed Piltdown to be true, not because they knew it to be false.

There is no way that I can certainly know that Keith was not involved, but I do know that J. S. Weiner, after a long interview with him, was utterly convinced of his complete innocence. And it does seem to me to be beyond the pale to indict anyone on such flimsy evidence, particularly when he cannot answer back.



Francis B. Harrold

Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Tex.

76019, U.S.A . 25 x 9I

The circumstantial evidence so skillfully assembled and analyzed by Tobias (and by Spencer 1990) points to Arthur Keith as Charles Dawson's mystery accomplice more strongly than to any other candidate. Keith's uncharacteristic act of destroying all his correspondence with Dawson is particularly suspicious. However, given the passage of time it is most unlikely that (to borrow a metaphor from another famous scandal) the "smoking gun" proving Keith's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt will ever be found. Like some famous murders, Piltdown will remain an open case, no doubt inspiring future books and articles for devotees of scandals and whodunits. It may be asked whether anthropologists should care about this ancient hoax any more than about the cases of Jack the Ripper or Lizzie Borden.

But Tobias adduces excellent reasons for our continued attention to Piltdown. As arguably the most successful fraud in the history of science, it is especially valuable as a case study of the factors influencing the acceptance or rejection of scientific ideas.

Furthermore, Piltdown plays a significant role in a quite different context of which anthropologists should be aware, the creation-vs.-evolution controversy. Tobias briefly refers to it in citing the claim by an antievolutionist in the 1900s that Piltdown man was a fraud. In one form or another, creationism is widespread in many societies, and it is a significant sociopolitical force in the United States {Eve and Harrold 1990). The U.S. adult population is evenly divided over whether humanity originated through organic evolution or recent divine creation. Many antievolutionists, called "scientific creationists," argue that the fossil and geological records are actually consistent with a literalistic interpretation of the creation account in Genesis. They are led by a cadre of writers and lecturers, some with advanced degrees in technological and scientific fields, who attack numerous aspects of evolutionary science. Not surprisingly, paleoanthropology is one of their favorite targets, and Piltdown man is one of their weapons.

For example, the biochemist Duane Gish of the Institute for Creation Research discusses Piltdown in his Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record {Gish 1985:I88-90). Gish draws two conclusions from the affair: First, Piltdown (along with "Nebraska man" and other cases of incorrect or disputed fossil identifications) shows that the so-called experts are easily fooled and don't really know what they are talking about. Second, paleoanthropologists, along with other evolutionists, allow preconceived ideas to govem their scientific conclusions (here he bolsters his assertions with selective quotation of Stephen Jay Gould and Jacquetta Hawkes).

This, by the way, is creationists' standard explanation for their failure to convince the scientific community that evolution is nonsense: scientists are so blinded by their evolutionary presuppositions and dogmatic materialism that they cannot see the inadequacies of evolutionary theory.

Gish's assessment of Piltdown is of a piece with the rest of his case against human evolution (Gish 1985:130-228), which is shot through with omissions, distortions, and non sequiturs. It is not a serious scientific discussion–but then it is not meant for scientists. Its audience is the general public, which creationists hope to influence in their campaign to curtail instruction in evolution in public schools while ensuring that creationism is presented as an intellectually respectable alternative.

Paleoanthropologists should draw some important lessons from Piltdown, especially when

communicating with students and with the general public {which after all supports most of their research). One is that scien[268]tists, as human beings, produce their share of blunders and even dishonesty. Piltdown was a colossal blunder, precipitated by a shameful hoax, and this fact should not be minimized. But scientific methods are reasonably effective over time in exposing and correcting both errors and knavery. Another lesson is that, while paradigmatic biases surely influence how scientists interpret their data, there is a reciprocal influence of accumulating data on theory. As Tobias stresses, the investigations exposing the Piltdown fraud were set in motion by the accumulation of a great deal of evidence that simply could not be accommodated in Keith's theoretical framework. Piltdown was a sort of prediction of what the fossil record would someday produce. Unfortunately for the perpetrators, it was a testable prediction which came to be decisively disconfirmed.


Kenneth A. B. Kennedy

Ecology and Systematics, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. 14853, U.S.A . 20 xi 91

As heir to the palaeoanthropological establishment founded in South Afnca by Raymond Dart, Tobias is sensibly aware that his mentor's claims for hominid status of the Taung fossil were harshly rejected by those who embraced Piltdown as a human ancestor. Among Dart's severest critics was Keith, now a prime suspect in this Tobias-Spencer-Langham scenario of how Piltdown achieved a place in man's family tree. If this scenario is verified, truly it meets the title "The Taung Baby's Revenge"!

However, verification that Keith was Piltdown's creator remains elusive. Reviewers of Spencer's book have not been supportive (Chippindale 1990; Gngson 1990b ; Kennedy 1990; Smith of Marlow 1990; Thomson 1990a ; Wade 1990; Zuckerman 1990, 1991). Having examined the Piltdown specimens at first hand, profited from a 20-year association with Oakley, and learned about Keith from my mentor Theodore D. McCown, I welcome this opportunity to share my response to the portrayal of Keith as a culprit. American anthropologists who trace their academic lineages to Keith through Earnest A. Hooton, Wilton M. Krogman, and Theodore D. McCown will appreciate my personal interest in ascertaining his role in the Piltdown forgery.

Every one of Tobias's "nine pointers to Keith's guilt" merits scrutiny, especially since evidence of culpability for each of the 20 or more other suspects is not pursued with equal vigor and attention to biographical detail. With their focus upon Keith, Spencer and his supporters have cursorily exonerated other actors in this curious drama, against some of whom strong cases might be built.

Concerning the unsigned article about the Piltdown meeting published in the British Medical Journal on December 21, 1912, Dawson is the most obvious source, particularly as "a punctilious reading reveals that much of the information here is to be found in Dawson's account." Indeed, no one knew the site as well as Dawson. If some details of its location and environs were known to Keith before the meeting of the Geological Society on December 18, others might also have had some advance knowledge of Dawson's discovery.

Keith's unsuccessful effort to locate the site in January 1913 was the result of incomplete information of its whereabouts, especially as Dawson and Smith Woodward were purposefully vague about landmarks during the December 1912 meeting. Frustrated by lack of an invitation to visit Piltdown by those who had collected there, Keith might well have tried to find the site on his own and failed.

Faulty memory accounts for some of the discrepancies in Keith's statements. If he had met Dawson in 1911, he might not have remembered the occasion for the sound reason that Dawson's name was worth remembering because of Piltdown and not because he was one of three hosts during the tour at Hastings two years before. Nor is a Keith- Dawson meeting at the Royal College of Surgeons prior to May 12, 1912, firmly established. Dawson might have examined the skeletal collection set out by a preparator under Keith's supervision without meeting Keith himself; it is unusual for highly placed officers of research institutions to have direct contact with every researcher who comes to examine specimens. Keith's uncertainty about the circumstances of his initial meeting with Dawson, as recorded by Weiner and Oakley on November 21, 1953, may have been a lapse of memory in an aged and ill man trying to reconstruct events that had transpired 40 years earlier.

Yes, some of Spencer's and Tobias's observations are puzzling: the contents of Keith's letter to Hrdlicka on December 23, 1912, Keith's intentional destruction of his correspondence with Dawson along with all notes relating to Piltdown and Dawson, Dawson's claim that Keith had been present during the photographic sessions at the Royal College of Surgeons in May 1912, and Keith's misrepresentation of Shattock's identification of the Piltdown vault bones as pathological. But do these points constitute evidence of dishonorable conduct on the scale of a forgery of a fossil hominid? It appears unlikely that Keith was so poorly informed about cranial bone morphology as to fail to recognize the irregular development of the diploic and endo-ectocranial plates of bone tissue of a skull he intended to use in a forgery, even if he might not have ascribed this form of cranial bone thickness to the etiology preferred by Shattock.

Although Keith had his enemies, Tobias cites only one of his admirers, who is able to offer a more positive picture. More effort to find testimonials from those who knew him best is merited. McCown was one of Keith's close associates when the two were preparing the published account of the Mount Carmel Neanderthals. As a student and colleague of McCown, I had the opportunity to hear of his high regard for Keith over many years. Surely there must be others with favorable impressions, and they deserve to be heard.

Did Keith live out his long life in the knowledge that he had dishonored himself and compromised his profession in order to advance a particular concept of human [269] evolution and further his own career? If so, his apparent success would have encouraged him to perpetrate other hoaxes. Surely none have been discovered during the nearly 40 years since his death. We do not discern a behavior pattern that confirms the psychological profile depicted by Keith's present-day accusers. In short, some allowances for character must be made, and in such cases enemies are of no help!

However, truth may be revealed as much by our leaving undone things we ought to have done as by our doing things we ought not to have done. One thing that Keith left undone was the careful supervision of the printer's sketch of the gold- embossed profile of the skull that appears on the cover of his 1915 book Antiquity of Man. The caption reads "Piltdown Skull," but Keith's preoccupation with the cranial vault and braincase at the expense of the mandible caused him to overlook the artist's rendering of a modern human jaw with well-developed mental eminence (Oakley, personal communication, 1961). It is unlikely that this was the oversight of a forger eager to gain acceptance of a creation in which the simian character of the lower jaw declared its Pliocene ancestry to Heidelberg and later fossil hominids.

Tobias, citing Washburn, notes that Keith rejected Australopithecus as a hominid ancestor for some 20 years but accepted the importance of the Peking fossils, thereby sheltering Piltdown from the Taung baby. This is hardly an enigma given the expectation in the early part of the century of the discovery of a "missing link," a model realized more convincingly at Piltdown than in South Africa. Homo erectus pekinensis did not present such problems, since it confirmed the status of the already discovered Javanese Middle Pleistocene fossils, nor could these fossils be regarded as Pliocene ancestors.

Whereas Tobias wrote in June 1953 that the amounts of fluorine detected by Oakley in the Piltdown skull and mandible were virtually identical (meaning that the bones were of the same antiquity), later tests revealed that the fluorine contents of the Piltdown mandible and the cranium differed considerably: <0.03 and O.1O + O.1% fluorine respectively (Oakley 1980:22-23).

Tobias has achieved a substantial contribution to the history of Piltdown and to palaeoanthropology, but pending a confession by the guilty party the case remains unresolved. Nothing has been proved, but Keith has been cast in the worst light by the assembling of the circumstantial evidence against him. There is an element of shock in this for most of us, and loyalty to Keith's memory must not cloud our judgment. Similarly, those without this attachment to Keith must examine their own motives for self-satisfaction in believing they have witnessed the fall of the mighty. In short, emotional issues are involved here. A parallel case is Gould's (1980) implication of Teilhard de Chardin, supporters of the priest's innocence coming from the church, major granting foundations, and irate colleagues.

While the jury is out, I continue to regard the Piltdown hoax as a prank that got out of hand. If Dawson did require the services of someone scientifically more sophisticated to file teeth, dip bones in potassium bichromate, pinch osteological specimens from museum collections, and bury the monster, who would have been better qualified as a companion in scientific crime than a disgruntled young employee in the lower ranks of the British Museum (Natural History) establishment? Once Smith Woodward had called together British men of science in 1912, thereby attracting the attention of Keith, Elliot Smith, and other major figures of the palaeoanthropological community, Dawson's collaborator could scarcely have revealed the true nature of Piltdown, especially if he sought to rise in the museum bureaucracy. Oakley concluded that Dawson had collaborated with Martin A. C. Hinton, a preparator at the time of Piltdown's discovery but eventually deputy keeper and then head of his department. Thomson (1991a ) and Zuckerman (1991)confirm this verdict. If this analysis is correct, Keith was as much a victim of the Piltdown forgery as his scientific associates.


Martin K. Nickels

Anthropology Program, Illinois State University, Normal, I11. 6I76I, U.S.A. 2 XII 9I

My comments on this article focus on aspects of chronology, motive, and strategy. They are concerns about the logic and strength of the evidence presented in this case against Keith.

First, according to some accounts (e.g., Thomson 1991a ), the "discoveries" at Piltdown may have begun as early as 1908 but were certainly concluded by 1911, since Dawson contacted Smith Woodward by February 1912 regarding them. Only 11 months before this, in March 1911, Arthur Keith had been fumed down for admission into the Royal Society. Tobias notes that Keith probably first met Dawson about three months later, at a social gathering in July 1911. If Keith was the mastermind of the Piltdown fraud, then he must have decided to perpetrate it almost immediately after his rejection by the Royal Society and presumably after he had met Dawson and considered him as a potential accomplice. This chronology means that he had only the fall of 1911 to plan and prepare all of the details of such a scheme. If at least some of Dawson's "discoveries" had already been made by 1911 and the forgery plot was already unfolding, then either Keith had been involved up to three years earlier than the current case against him presumes or he cannot have been involved at all. It is possible, I suppose, that Keith only supplemented Dawson's earlier "discoveries" with a piece or two that added plausibility to Piltdown's status, but even this is hard for me to accept because I am not convinced that the motives attributed here to Keith are supported by the evidence.

The essence of the Tobias-Spencer argument regarding Keith's motives is that he was so upset at not having been elected to the Royal Society that he almost immediately (between March and early summer of 1911) decided to seek acceptance by perpetrating a grand fraud [270] that would enhance his professional stature sufficiently to ensure election. This argument presumes that Keith was so insecure, so impatient, and so ambitious that a single failure to be elected to the Royal Society led him either to concoct or, at least, to participate in such a fraud. But is there evidence of such desperation in either Keith's character or his actions? Is there any indication that he resorted to other unethical, immoral, or dastardly deeds to achieve or enhance his professional status? I confess that I don't know, but I certainly don't think that the case has been made sufficiently in this paper. And, of course, this motive becomes almost completely untenable the earlier the Piltdown "discoveries" took place, for if Dawson already had such material by 1911 it is the less likely that Keith was involved at all.

Moreover, if the forgery was intended to enhance his professional stature, then it makes no sense to me at all that he decided that Smith Woodward should be the scientist whom Dawson would contact at the British Museum. For Keith to benefit to the extent he presumably thought necessary to achieve his alleged goal, Piltdown should really have been his own discovery or collaboration. It is strange indeed to attempt to further one's own career by taking at best a secondary role to that of a colleague (one not even especially well-liked?) who is virtually assured of gaining even more from the episode.

Finally, it seems to me that only a truly desperate man would attempt this forgery and hope that subsequent authentic discoveries elsewhere would not cast serious doubt on either its significance or its authenticity. I think that acceptance of Piltdown persisted as long as it did at least as much because no such discoveries were made in Europe in subsequent years as because of Keith's influence in downplaying the importance of the African australopithecines. Only hindsight allows us to realize just how implausible an equally old but authentic European find is likely to have been. Who could have known this in 1911? What professional would have dared to chance it? An established but still young professional like Keith, who had admittedly suffered a social slight but who also had his entire career to lose if his forgery were revealed or he were betrayed by his accomplice? This article simply does not convince me that Keith would have thought it worth the risk.



Nicholas Rolland

Department of Anthropology, University of Victona, P.O. Box 1700, Victoria, B.C., Canada V8W2Y2. 3 xii 91

The Piltdown forgery continues to generate interest despite the large volume of literature already devoted to it. Tobias's stimulating paper shows why. He provides a convincing case, as far as the evidence cited goes, that Keith was the main culprit. Tobias and his predecessors have thoroughly researched all the available documentation in depth. Identifying the author(s) of the fraud is not the only point of significance; the motives are no less intriguing. Given that fraud remains a recurrent activity in science, the motives suggested here are more credible than the notion of a practical joke that others have advanced in connection with Teilhard. I somehow doubt that a prankster would have waited some 40 years to enjoy the spectacle of his colleagues made to stand on their heads. Furthermore, in its strong advocacy of Sub-Saharan Africa as the site of anthropogenesis (see, e.g., 1953, 1956) and of a late (Last Glacial) emergence of moderr humans Teilhard's approach was the antithesis of Keith's.

One of the major lessons of the fraud and its eventual exposure is that science and dogma do not comfortably coexist. The fact that Eoanthropus dawsoni continued to be accepted by many competent palaeoanthropologists for so long testifies more to the perverse skills of the forger. Time was beginning to run out for the model of evolution advocated by Keith; by the time the forgery was exposed, the theoretical framework of hominid origins and evolution had reached a much higher level of maturity. The heuristic concept of the "total morphological pattern" and the relevance of bipedalism as a decisive adaptive development (Birdsell and Bartholomew 1953) were already gaining acceptance. Despite a certain amount of skepticism throughout the 40 years when the Piltdown finds were taken seriously, many may have hesitated to go public about the possibility of a forgery because they remembered the fate of members of the French Academy of Sciences who became marginalized because of their wrongheaded stand against Boucher de Perthes's challenging findings. Tobias is nevertheless correct in deploring the fact that the Piltdown fraud retarded acceptance of the evolutionary position of the australopithecines up to 1959, when Robinson's now classic comparative analyses of their dentition established that they belonged to the hominid group–a conclusion followed almost immediately by the field discoveries of the Leakeys in East Africa, all confirming Dart and Broom's earlier verdict.

Besides delaying recognition that Africa contained the earliest representatives of the hominid family, the Piltdown "finds" also influenced much of the interpretation of the fossil human and Palaeolithic records in Western Europe, even after the fraud was uncovered. This had much to do with the notion of a separate "Presapiens" hominid lineage coexisting for much of the Pleistocene with the forebears of the classic Neandertals. It is ironic that H. V. Vallois, long reluctant to accept that the skull and mandible of Piltdown actually belonged to a single individual, eventually accepted (1952) the first (and erroneous) fluorine dating. This led him to accept Eoanthropus (a label which he found unfortunate) as an early forerunner of his "Presapiens" evolutionary group (including Swanscombe and especially Fontechevade), distinct from the "Preneandertalian" lineage (beginning with the Mauer find and followed by Steinheim, Ehringsdorf, and Saccopastore) that led to the classic stage (Chapelle-aux-Saints, Ferrassie, Moustier, Spy). This reaffirmed Boule's 1913 conclusion. A note hastily inserted into the last ( I 95 2) edition of Les hommes fossiles [271] announced that the exposure of the Piltdown fraud, but instead of eliminating the hypothesised "Presapiens" lineage this merely shortened its duration. The same 1952 issue, interestingly enough, still excluded the australopithecines from the hominid family tree. The "Presapiens" model continued to linger in various scenarios and coloured perceptions of the fossil and Palaeolithic records. The first report of the Late Riss La Chaise skull fragment, for instance, placed it outside the Neandertal phylogeny because of its more evolved appearance (Piveteau 1974:57). A similar verdict was reached, initially, concerning the Petralona skull (Poulianos I97I). Eventually the "Presapiens" hypothesis was allowed to die a natural death, but it continued to influence interpretations of Middle Palaeolithic interassemblage variability and the transition from the Middle to the Upper Palaeolithic.

Bordes's (1953) classification of the Early Wurm Middle Palaeolithic (or "Mousterian complex") led him to partition this archaeological evidence into several discrete industry types that he regarded as the material expressions or "stylistic signatures" of separate ethnic groups coexisting even within the geographical confines of the Aquitaine basin in France. He correctly observed that practically all of the Neandertal remains were associated with the Quina/Ferrassie industry, whereas the identity of the populations who manufactured the handaxes and backed knives of the Mousterian of Acheulian Tradition remained unknown (Bordes 1959). He proposed a modified scenario (1958) of hominid evolution in Western Europe which involved the division of a mid-Pleistocene group combining sapiens and archaic Neandertal traits (Steinheim, Swanscombe, Fontechevade) into separate pre-sapiens and Neandertal lineages at the beginning of the last interglacial, an evolutionary process that accelerated during Early Wurm times. This enabled him to fill, hypothetically, the gap concerning the identity of the tool makers of the Mousterian of Acheulian Tradition, who could have been sapiens. Hence, the different Mousterian industries were manufactured by populations that were not only ethnically but in some cases even biologically distinct.

Bordes acknowledged that most of the Mousterian industries and their Neandertal manufacturers eventually disappeared without successors, but he took pains to demonstrate that the Middle-to-Upper-Palaeolithic transition in Europe was not a straightforward case of replacement without continuity. The continuity involved the "Presapiens" hominid line, which was at the same time the manufacturer of Palaeolithic repertoires from the Upper Acheulian of Rissian times through the Early Wumm Mousterian of Acheulian Tradition to the Lower Perigordian (= Chatelperronian) and Upper Perigordian ( = Gravettian). Therefore, we had an indigenous sapiens biocultural line within Western Europe, coexisting first with the Neandertals and all the Mousterian repertoires other than the Mousterian of Acheulian Tradition and then with the exotic Cro-Magnon and the intrusive Aurignacian industry. The archaeological dimension of this dichotomy remained accepted in Western Europe until the late seventies, long after the "Presapiens" concept had been abandoned. The terms Lower and Upper Perigordian, so theory-laden, are no longer used in France, having been replaced respectively by Chatelperronian and Gravettian. All of this terminology, incidentally, was created prior to World War II and Bordes's time in France by Peyrony and Garrod, perhaps illustrating the "Eurocentric" and the "cosmopolitan" approach to the Palaeolithic.

It would be stretching a point to say that the Piltdown fraud was entirely responsible for the "Presapiens" paradigm and its palaeoanthropological and archaeological repercussions, but it did contribute to a viewpoint favouring a two-lineage model of hominid evolution within Westem Europe that supplied alternative blueprints for interpreting Palaeolithic evidence there.


Curtis Runnels

Department of Archaeology, Boston University, 67S Commonwealth Ave., Boston, Mass. O2213, U.S.A. 22 x 91

In a carefully reasoned analysis, Tobias strongly supports the case of Spencer and Langham that the mastermind behind the Piltdown forgery was Keith. He presents new evidence that implicates Keith and makes the excellent point that the acceptance of Piltdown was responsible for the prolonged and unnecessary delay in the acceptance of the South African australopithecines and that this delay retarded progress in palaeoanthropology for nearly 30 years. Fraud and forgery in science are destructive, and understanding the motivations of the individuals involved is of the highest importance. To do so requires certain knowledge of the identity of the guilty parties. The sad truth is that after a lapse of 80 years their identity may never be known.

The convincing review offered by Tobias will serve to throw additional suspicion upon Keith, but to my mind there is still every reason to regard Dawson as the forger. Weiner (1955) noted, for example, that Dawson was thought to be a forger by his amateur colleagues in Sussex, and he tracked down a faked flint with a note by Harry Morris that the flint was "stained by C. Dawson to defraud all)" (p. 156). Dawson was also caught staining bones and flints by two different persons (pp. I65-66), and chemicals and apparatus used for staining were found among his, effects after his death along with fragments of stained fossils (pp. 188, 194-97). Dawson was also guilty of plagiarism and faulty documentation of his archaeological finds (pp. 176, 183-83). Despite his low reputation among his Sussex colleagues, Dawson's reputation among the professionals was established by his scientific papers on mammalian fossils, and he was widely regarded as knowledgeable in geology (p. 178). Dawson was intelligent and clever, although addicted to novel or spectacular discoveries that could be interpreted in some sense as transitional or intermediate in form (pp. 185-86). In the light of this evidence Weiner concluded that Dawson's knowledge "was sufficient to [272] enable him to meet on their own ground those

professional geologists, zoologists, archaeologists, and even anatomists whose attention he roused with his discoveries" (p. 186) and that Dawson "had the ability, the experience, and whatever we surmise may have been the motive" to commit the forgery (p. 103). The strongest evidence for Dawson's guilt is that the forgeries began with Dawson and ended when he died.

Many scientists have nevertheless refused to accept Weiner's verdict that Dawson worked alone. The argument has often been made that the forgery was too clever and required too much detailed scientific knowledge to have been carried out by an amateur. Some scientists find it hard to believe that an amateur could have duped the entire scientific establishment, and fingers have been pointed at one or more probable collaborators among a circle of palaeontologists in London. Keith had escaped serious suspicion until the publication of Spencer's book. In his paper Tobias continues the attack upon Keith, and in many details I find it very persuasive, but the overall case does not hold up. The evidence adduced for Keith's guilt is more circumstantial than that which we have for Dawson, and all of it is open to alternative explanations. The evidence presented here revolves around Keith's failure to acknowledge that he knew Dawson before the discovery of Piltdown and his evident concern about Dawson's character and the genuineness of the fossils. But can we ever place reliance upon discrepancies of testimony taken more than 40 years after the events that are described? This difficulty is compounded by the fact that Dawson deliberately lied about a number of events connected with the discovery and by the complete absence of surviving correspondence between Dawson and Keith (although the destruction of this correspondence is itself taken by Tobias as a sign of Keith's guilt). The principal reason for rejecting Keith's role in the forgery, however, is the compelling evidence for Dawson's guilt. Dawson took the fossils to Smith Woodward rather than to Keith, and it would have been easier to maintain the fraud if Keith had done the reconstruction. To introduce a third party in the reconstruction of the original fragments was to risk exposure. While there can be no doubt that Keith was encouraged by his preconceptions about human evolution to accept the fossil as genuine, he had his reputation and his livelihood to lose by risking this daring forgery. Dawson, by contrast, had everything to gain by the forgery (namely, a fellowship in the Royal Society) and nothing to lose. Dawson could easily have avoided guilt for the forgery by laying blame on the workmen, much as Boucher de Perthes did at Abbeville. Keith's strong and sustained support for Piltdown can be easily explained as the attachment that is all too easily formed for a pet hypothesis, and we must bear in mind that there is a great difference between clinging to a pet hypothesis and hiding a guilty secret. One alternative that I have heard voiced by several colleagues is that Keith realized at some point that Dawson had salted the site and, knowing that his work would be jeopardized by the exposure, chose to remain silent. Although this motive

was not honorable, it would certainly be sufficient reason for him to alter his recollections of his early acquaintance with Dawson in order to prevent the kind of allegations that have indeed been raised against him. A similar explanation could be applied to Teilhard de Chardin's puzzling silence and evasiveness about Piltdown.

I predict that the indictment against Sir Arthur Keith will not end here. Interest in the affaire will continue until there is new and completely convincing evidence to prove that Charles Dawson did or did not have an accomplice. Tobias has nevertheless presented a useful and persuasive summary of the case in the context of contemporary scientific thinking. It is an original and very interesting contribution not only to the debate over the identity of the Piltdown forger(s) but also to the history of science, where there is increasing interest in the study of fraud and imposture as an integral part of an understanding of change.



Frank Spencer

Department of Anthropology, Queens College, City University of New York, Flushing, N. Y. 12367, U.S.A . 9 xii 91.

Although Tobias has clearly discussed all of the salient features of the Langham-Spencer case, I would like to underline a couple of points. First, additional evidence supporting the Keith-Dawson alliance can be found in Weiner's transcript of the interview he and Oakley had with Keith on Saturday, November 2I, 1953 (see 6.3.5: Spencer 1990b :219—21). ). It was during this interview that Keith admitted that he knew that the Piltdown jaw had been treated with chromate and that he had reamed this directly from Dawson. It had been generally known that Dawson had treated his initial finds in "a solution of bichromate of potash to harden them" but that this practice had apparently ceased when Woodward came on board at the end of May 1911 (see Spencer 1990a : 127-28). Therefore the jaw, which was recovered sometime in the early summer of 1911 (ca. June-July), was thought not to have been treated in this manner. This being the case, why had Dawson elected to tell Keith this? There is no evidence that Woodward had any knowledge of this, and if he had known it would have been most improbable for Dawson to have revealed such an incriminating piece of information to Keith, particularly given the tense relationship that evidently existed between Woodward and Keith at that time. Of course, Dawson could have unwittingly let this information slip during a conversation with Keith and, for reasons not immediately clear, Keith could have promised to keep it secret. But if this is true, why did Keith continue to protect Dawson after his death in 1916? And even more important, why did Keith remain silent on this crucial issue in the mid--193ºs, when Alvan T. Marston began agitating against Piltdown (see Spencer 1990a :123-28)? Viewed separately, this piece of information is admittedly open to a number of possible (benign) interpreta[273]tions, but I have been unable to find any (benign) explanation which would exonerate him.

Second, on Keith's possible reasons for welding a palpably apelike jaw to a human braincase, it is interesting that while this "union" may at first glance appear to work against Keith's theoretical position on the great antiquity of the modem human skeletal form, it did not present an obstacle to the advancement of this viewpoint–as is shown by his 1913 reworking of Woodward's earlier reconstruction (see fig. 2.1 in Spencer 1990b :78). The implication of the Langham-Spencer hypothesis is that Woodward had been chosen to deliver Piltdown into the scientific arena and that the jaw had been carefully selected and modified in such a way as to grab Woodward's imagination while at the same time providing Keith with an opportunity to present at a later date an alternative reconstruction. From the outset, he prudently registered reservations about the jaw–but once it was successfully launched he was able to bring forth his arguments for reconstructing the mandible along quite different (i.e., more human-like) lines. A1though Keith is seen to ruminate on Piltdown, the fact is that his 1913 restoration remained essentially unchanged and is to be found embossed in gold on the front cover of the two editions of his book, The Antiquity of Man (1915).



C. B. Stringger Human Origins Group, Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, England.

24 xi 91

That the Piltdown case continues to fascinate both scientists and members of the public is evident from the number of enquiries the Natural History Museum continues to receive about the "relics" which are in its care.

Tobias states that the suggested incrimination of Keith provides an explanation for his rejection of Dart's claims for the importance of Australopithecus.. I think it is fair to say that there were enough preconceived ideas and conservative opinions amongst palaeoanthropologists at the time to ensure that Dart's radical proposals would get a rough ride. Piltdown made Dart's task all the harder, but workers such as Boule, Elliot Smith, and Keith were hardly likely to have been receptive to the idea of a small-brained hominid from South Africa, propagated by a relative outsider like Dart on the basis of an isolated immature specimen, regardless of the existence of Piltdown!

Also–to be perfectly fair to Keith–it should be noted that Tobias gives Teilhard de Chardin the benefit of the doubt about his confusion over Piltdown after 1953, putting it down to the "confused mind and memory of an aging man," but Keith's confusion over Piltdown at an even more advanced age is taken as evidence of guilt!

Nevertheless, as I have already indicated (Stringer 1990), I agree with Tobias that Langham and Spencer have assembled the best case yet made for the prime perpetrator of the Piltdown forgery. Certainly Dawson is implicated even more strongly, particularly by the fact that my research supports suspicions that the Piltdown 2 molar is almost certainly from the left side of the original Piltdown I jaw. However, the fact that the Piltdown mandible is smaller than any mature orang jaw in the Natural History Museum collections suggests that it was specially selected from an extensive collection not likely to be available to an amateur like Dawson but certainly available to a museum curator such as Keith.

I am still puzzled, however, over the enigmatic Piltdown canine. It seems that prior to the appearance of the canine, Keith was still attempting to link the Mauer mandible indirectly with the Piltdown remains (e.g., see Keith's first reconstruction of Piltdown [Spencer 1990a ::64). The "discovery" of the canine obviously disturbed him, and it is clearly a rather inferior forgery. Moreover, given that we can link the teeth of Piltdown I and 2 to Dawson and to the same original jaw, I think that the distinctiveness of the canine tooth points to yet another forger, one who could only replicate the chemical staining of the other Piltdown specimens by the use of oil paint!

Whether the canine forger was its "discoverer," Teilhard de Chardin, as is proposed by Gould (1980, 1981), or another individual such as Hinton, as is proposed by Matthews (1981) and Thomson (1991a ), working alone or in collaboration, remains to be seen. Finally, if Keith was guilty, one must admire his persistence and ability to cover his tracks. Twenty-five years later, following nearly a year's research, he wrote an extremely detailed comparison of Swanscombe and Piltdown, covering 50 pages, for the Joournal of Anatomy (1938-39) and further adjusted his 1915 reconstruction to resemble more closely Elliot Smith's 1917 version.



N. C. Tappen

Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wis. 53 201, U.S.A. 2 xii 91

The exposure of the Piltdown shenanigans has given rise to a small industry pursuing culprits and details of their activities. If pressed to classify this industry, I would likely place it in "Entertainment"; the elements of mystery and dark motivations made it almost inevitable that Arthur Conan Doyle's name would surface. Furthermore, the picture of so many evolutionists trying to make sense of the fragments for so many years, while not directly connected to immediate concerns of the industry, certainly has aspects of low comedy. Weiner's account of Sir Arthur Smith Woodward spending his last years searching for additional fossils is somehow less uproarious, though of great human interest. The case also helped inspire first-rate fiction, such as Angus Wilson's Anglo-Saxon Attitudes, in which a long-concealed archaeological fraud is central to the plot. The Piltdown industry continues to flourish; Tobias's article follows upon a recent exchange between Thomson (1990b ) and Spencer (1991c ). Since reading Weiner's book many years ago, I have not closely followed the literature implicating the various proposed guilty parties, but second[174]ary reports suggest that the accusations range from unconvincing to preposterous, including at least one malevolent attempt to settle an old grudge. Tobias's excellent review provides a service in enumerating and mainly dismissing these charges.

Aside from Dawson, almost certainly heavily involved, Tobias gives details only for the cases against Teilhard de Chardin and his prime suspect, Keith. He characterizes the evidence against Teilhard as unconvincing, and his summary leads me to agree. He does, however, think it likely that Teilhard knew that fraud was involved. This view seems to stem from unspecified circumstantial evidence compiled by L. S. B. Leakey and Leakey's statement that Teilhard had told him he knew who was responsible and it was not Dawson. Unpersuaded, I pass on to the main target.

The case against Keith is far more damaging than any except that against Dawson. Here Tobias performs a further service by publishing in a widely circulated journal outlining and expanding upon Spencer's (1990a ) book. Keith's actions certainly have the appearance of a man decidedly on the make but trying to cover his tracks. Yet I am uncomfortable with the notion of accepting the certainty of his guilt. If he was a perpetrator of the fraud, it seems to me that he was short-term cunning but long-term stupid, because the various forgeries were in the public domain and were bound to be exposed sooner or later, even if he wasn't. And the manipulations were quite crude, in my opinion, even for those early days. I agree with Langdon that an interested amateur could have done the work, despite Tobias's admiration for the breadth of knowledge demonstrated, and I believe that the major or sole perpetrator was Dawson.

Subsequent management of the Piltdown materials probably contributed to the delay in exposing the fraud. While a good account of their accessibility through time would require the efforts of a historian of science, I have reason to believe that access to the fossils and artifacts for further study was severely restricted for many years. According to Theya Molleson (personal communication), exposure of the fraud led Oakley to establish a policy that allowed any reasonably qualified person to study the important fossils held at the British Museum (Natural History), a substantial gain for anthropology. I was one of the beneficiaries of this policy, and it may be that other European museums that cooperated generously with me were influenced by the Piltdown experience to allow outside investigators with reasonable projects free access to their holdings.

Thus there are positive aspects to the fraud, and particularly to its exposure, which are not mentioned by Tobias. The Piltdown finds were always controversial (Keith in his books made this perfectly clear), and the problems of the dating and the biological relationships of this then most important find must have stimulated Oakley to initiate modem dating methods. He had shown by fluorine relative dating that Piltdown was not nearly as ancient as originally thought (he placed it at first in the Third Interglacial). This suggested strongly that there was something wrong with the finds, and I felt safe in ignoring Piltdown in an early theoretical overview of major processes of human evolution (Tappen 1953). In any case, the modem tendency to use experts from other disciplines to help solve anthropological problems was pioneered especially by Oakley, and Piltdown was a prime target.

A footnote to the discussion may be in order. Tobias, referring to an earlier possible doubter of the genuineness of Piltdown, says that Weidenreich's calling Eoanthropus a "chimaera" did not amount to questioning its authenticity "if by 'authentic' we understand 'trustworthy' or 'genuine."' My dictionary gives one definition of "chimaera" as follows: "(d) an often fantastic combination of incongruous parts, esp. a fabrication." Thus it would appear that Weidenreich may have been indulging in that most fundamental aspect of our discipline, ambiguity, and that Keith looked farther down into the list of definitions than Tobias did.


Bruce C. Trigger

Department of Anthropology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2T7. . I3 X 9I

Between them, Tobias and Spencer have argued a strong case in favor of Keith's being the "scientist-accomplice" who masterminded the Piltdown fraud. Yet the evidence remains circumstantial and probably would not win a conviction in a court of law. This is, of course, frequently the case with studies of what the historian Fernand Braudel calls the évenément.. This refers to history as it is understood in terms of the individuals who are caught up in it–the level at which chance, personal decision making, and the psychology of individuals play a major role. In a case of fraud it is very difficult to penetrate with any certainty the labyrinth of motivations, understandings, and actions that animated those involved. Circumstantial evidence is nominally the best that can be hoped for.

Following Braudel's terminology, it seems that much more certainty can be reached in terms of structural history, which largely concerns processes that are beyond the perception and control of individual human actors. I am thinking particularly of Braudel's second level of conjonctures, or stable forces, that may persist over several decades or centuries and that constrain and direct human perceptions and behavior in various important ways. While such forces in no way condone fraudulent behavior, I believe that they explain why the Piltdown forgery took the particular form it did and why it was successful for so long. I would also suggest that, because of the social forces that were at work at the time, the interpretation of the fossil evidence concerning human evolution might not have followed a very different course had the Piltdown fraud never been perpetrated. From this point of view Keith may appear more as a puppet than as an actor on the stage of history.

During the 19th century inquiries into the course of human evolution were perforce of a highly deductive nature. As the result of a lack of archaeological and [275] palaeontological evidence to help constrain the imaginations of scientists, social and religious biases played an important, largely unperceived role in shaping the interpretation of such evidence as there was. Five years after Charles Darwin published The Descent of Man, Frederick Engels wrote a paper titled "The Role of Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man" (first published in Neue Zeit in 1896; see Marx and Engels (1962:80-92). Engels did not claim to have any specialized knowledge about physical anthropology; he sought only to reinterpret Darwin's ideas about human evolution in terms of the importance that he and Karl Marx accorded to relations of production as the main force shaping cultures. His most dramatic conclusion was that the hand "is not only an organ of labour, it is also the product of labour." Engels argued that an increasingly terrestrial life-style had encouraged "a highly developed race of anthropoid apes" to make increasing use of tools. This caused natural selection to favor bipedalism and manual dexterity as well as an increasing emphasis on a meat diet and a more complex division of labor. Tool making and the development of a capacity for language the better to coordinate productive activities led to the gradual transformation of the brain of an ape into that of a modern human being as well as to increasing "clarity of consciousness, power of abstraction and of judgement."

Over 20 years ago I drew attention to the extent to which Engels's deductive scenario coincidentally resembled the modem materialist theory of human evolution, which was heralded by the publication of Kenneth Oakley's "Tools Makyth Man" in 1957 |Tngger 1967). Oakley maintained that systematic tool making preceded any substantial enlargement of the hominid brain. While Darwin was a materialist and applied this approach to the study of evolution in general, his thinking on the subject of human evolution was constrained by a reluctance to challenge the primacy which the idealistic religious and philosophical thinking of his time accorded to rational thought as a motor in bringing about cultural change (Desmond 1989).. Hence in discussing human evolution, while acknowledging the importance of bipedalism, he stressed the importance of sexual selection (an aspect of his work which Engels totally ignored) and linked the development of the brain to the importance of language, initially as a warning system. It was the development of the. brain that in turn resulted in tool use. Engels's work demonstrates that it was possible to conceptualize the modem materialist theory of human evolution already in the 1870s. Yet Darwin's essentially idealist concepts about human evolution were clearly more compatible with the beliefs of most middle-class scientists in Western Europe than were those of the arch-revolutionary Engels. Hence it is not surprising that Engels's work was ignored.

Darwin's views of human evolution encouraged an idealist approach, which sought to prove that hominids with essentially modem human brains had already developed before or near the beginning of the Lower Palaeolithic. Small-brained or beetle-browed hominids that fumed up in the archaeological record were identified as side branches of human evolution that had died out without issue. This approach was adopted by the majority of palaeoanthropologists, including Marcellin Boule, Henri Vallois, L. S. B. Leakey, W. W. Howells, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Only a few, such as Franz Weidenreich, Ales Hrdlicka, and Hans Weinert, remained aloof from this general trend. Great importance was attached to the discovery of the remains of various supposed early sapiens at places such as Ipswich, Galley Hill, Fontechevade, Kanjera, Steinheim, and Swanscombe. Piltdown was conceived in the image of this theory but was not its only support; nor did this approach collapse with the disclosure that Piltdown was a fraud. In view of this mind-set, Taung would have had a difficult time being accepted as an ancestral hominid soon after 1924 whether or not the Piltdown fraud had been perpetrated. Nor does it seem that Keith's championing of the Piltdown remains was the sole reason that the advance of palaeoanthropology was held up for a quarter of a century.

I do agree, however, with Tobias that the exposure of Piltdown is a tribute to the vigor of the scientific method. By the middle of the 20th century its position and that of various other early sapiens had become "paradoxical" within "the burgeoning store of fossil hominids, " especially as many other alleged early sapiens remains were shown to be distorted, of dubious date, or non-sapiens. Many palaeoanthropologists were also becoming aware that the existing interpretations of human evolution violated many of the principles being applied to the interpretation of the palaeontological record of other forms of life. It was at this point that Kenneth Oakley, Sherwood Washburn, and F. Clark Howell laid the groundwork for the construction of a new theory of human evolution that, while arrived at largely inductively, closely resembled Engels's long-forgotten work. As I noted at the conclusion of my original study of this problem: "The example we have just considered provides some indication that, so long as a diligent search is made for empirical evidence, valid explanations eventually can be arrived at in spite of the manifold illusions and misconceptions that scientists must share as members of functioning, and hence myth-ridden, cultures" (Trigger I967:I76).. Yet there is little reason to believe that our attempts to understand human evolution are necessarily any less myth-ridden today than in the past. Let us hope that, by placing palaeoanthropologists on their guard, Spencer and Tobias may help to discourage the doctoring of the palaeoanthropological record itself.



Sherwood Washburn

Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, Calif . 94720, U.S..A. 6 XII 9 I

The place of Piltdown was debated for over 40 years. Were the skull and jaw parts of one individual, or had an ape's jaw got mixed with a human skull? The main outline of the mystery was settled when it was shown [276] that Piltdown was a fake. While attending a Wenner-Gren Foundation conference in London in 1953, Kenneth Oakley arranged an exhibit of some British Museum fossils, including Piltdown. After looking over the originals at the exhibit, both J. S. Weiner and I concluded that they were fakes. In view of the long history of Piltdown, this was a major decision. After his return to Oxford, Weiner examined casts of Piltdown and described. his thoughts to Clark and Oakley. I worked on Piltdown for only a few months after my return to Chicago {Spencer 1990a :214).

That Weiner and I came to the same conclusion after so much controversy over so many years is surprising. My belief is that the reason lies in the fact that we both tried to make Piltdowns, starting with the jaw. It is not by chance that Weiner began his book )1955) with descriptions of the experiments he had made at Oxford. My own brief efforts in Chicago convinced me that: it was easy to make a Piltdown and that, in an odd way, the extreme protection which the British Museum had given Piltdown had, in fact, protected the forgery. Spencer states, "It was decided to keep the exposure an entirely British affair" (1990:201). The hundreds of pages written on Piltdown in recent years do not give the same kind of understanding given in the laboratory.

Not many specimens were involved in the forgery: |(1) the skull, Piltdown I, consisting of several pieces found by Dawson over an indefinite number of years (initial date unknown) and reconstructed very differently by Keith and by Elliot Smith; (2) the jaw, found by Woodward and Dawson; (3) teeth and numerous pieces of bone, at least some found by Dawson, no specimens natural to the Piltdown area; (4) the canine tooth found by Teilhard, Dawson, Woodward; (5) the partial skull, Piltdown 2, found by Dawson. No new finds were made after Dawson's death in 1916. Furthermore, as Langdon (1991) has pointed out, no special knowledge was needed in making Piltdown. On different occasions, R. A. Marriott and G. St. Barbe saw Dawson staining objects, discussed the matter, and, unfortunately for the rest of us, decided to say nothing about it (Weiner 1955:166). There were people who doubted the authenticity of the Piltdown fossils; H. Morris, for example, wrote "stained by C. Dawson with intent to defraud" (Weiner 1955:156). Possibly the great desire in England to have a fossil man of their own–of which Woodward's (1948) The Earliest Englishman is certainly evidence–was enough to silence criticism.

In a very real sense, Dawson's death ended the Piltdown forgery. After the revelations of 1953 and the publication of Weiner's book in 1955 I thought that the matter was closed, but a myth persisted that Dawson could not have committed the crime unaided–that some person must have helped him. Tobias and Spencer think that that person was Keith. Tobias lists 11 persons who might have filled the role of helper and thinks that more than 20 have been suggested. But according to the view presented here and by Langdon (1991), Dawson needed no helper and did not have one, thus eliminating all the suspects, including Keith.

In a matter as important as this it is necessary to consider what constitutes evidence. On the matter of Dawson's being observed staining bones, is there any comparable evidence on Keith? Rumor is not enough, nor are secondhand accounts of who liked whom many years ago. In Dawson's estate, human bones were found {Barcombe Mills). Is there any comparable evidence on Keith? Is there anything to show that Keith collected bones of the kinds used to "salt" Piltdown? Much has been made of the thickness of the bone in Piltdown I, but in Piltdown 2 the bones were not thick. Dawson was the only person associated with Piltdown 2, and he would not say where he had found it. Dawson stained flints with the mistaken idea that it would harden them. Did Keith have any flints, stained or otherwise? There is substantial factual evidence, none of which Tobias uses.

According to Spencer, supported by Tobias, the principal motives for Keith's alleged participation in the fraud were his ambition and his theory of human evolution. But even a glance at Keith's Autobiography (1950) shows that he was remarkably productive of papers and books and received many honors. His work was widely accepted and should have been enough to stop superficial criticism. Keith first believed that people like ourselves were very ancient, but he changed his mind in the late 1920a (1931:30). In his own words, "the tide of discovery went dead against me" (1948:765); "I had to abandon the theory that the modern type of man was ancient, the very thesis I set out to prove so long ago." As an elderly man, Keith was adjusting his theories to the new developments. Tobias points out that Keith's opposition slowed the acceptance of Australopithecus but neglects to note that the work in Dart's laboratory stopped for some dozen years and only started again with Broom's major discoveries. When Keith heard of the latter he wrote Nature saying, "Dart was right and I was wrong." There could not have been a more public renunciation of his own earlier point of view (Lewin 1987:77).

In summary, the Piltdown forgery was maintained over the years by the myth that it was complicated. How different the whole matter would have been if Miller of the Smithsonian, author of the often-repeated phrase about Piltdown, "deliberate malice," had been invited to view Piltdown at the British Museum! Miller was so close to the truth that the opportunity to study the original specimens might have ended the whole situation in 1915. Or how different if Weidenreich, who was right on Piltdown–it was a "chimaera"–had controlled the "fossils"! When I visited him in the American Museum in New York he said, pointing to one of the fossils from Java, "Pick it up, pick it up–it is the original."


R. V. S. Wright

Department of Anthropology, University of Sydney, Sydney, N.S.W. 2006 Australia. 6 XII 91

Tobias supports the Langham-Spencer charge that Keith behaved fraudulently. With this in mind, let us remem[277]ber how Spencer initiates his case against Keith (Spencer 1990a :188-91)

The foundations for the charge of fraud are two entries in Keith's personal diary that Spencer reads as suspicious. The first of these entries, indicating that Keith wrote the British Medical Journal account of the Piltdown meeting before he went to it, is mercifully abandoned by Tobias, as indeed it should be. It is common sense to assume that Keith is referring to a draft of the anthropological, geological, and archaeological background to the find. Moreover, Spencer's ignorance of the editorial overflow to a second part ([Keith:1912b ) lead him needlessly to allege a suspicious lack of detail in Keith's account of the meeting.

With the first piece of the evidence out of the way, it is worth having a critical look at the second–something that Tobias does not undertake, instead giving general support to the Langham-Spencer interpretation. This second piece of evidence is an extract from Keith's diary, for January 1913 recording that Keith set off to visit the site of Piltdown on January 4, 1913. Spencer interprets the extract as meaning that Keith stopped short of visiting the site itself. Tobias highlights the hypothesis as one of Keith's going through "the charade of getting lost. "

What does Keith actually write? After giving some general details of the route and environment, Keith writes, "boys told us where Sussex skull found: fir avenue leading to farm–white gate: on delta plateau above the Ooze [sic] . didn't see the gravel bed anywhere" (Spencer 1990a :190). Adding a boldly precise gloss to the passage, Spencer asks why Keith "abruptly terminated his search at the gate to the Barkham Manor House.... why did he not walk the extra couple of hundred yards to the Manor House and complete his mission?") Contrary to Spencer's gratuitous gloss, the extract from Keith's diary does not say that he failed to visit the pit. What it says is that he failed to see the gravel bed anywhere. In using the word "bed," Keith is evidently alluding specifically to the bed of gravel that "contained" the Piltdown fossils. This bed formed the lower layers of the dark basal stratum in the pit (Spencer 1990b: :3I).

What might have happened to prevent Keith from seeing the lower layers in the pit? One answer that might come to the mind of anyone with experience of gravel pits in the English midwinter is that the pit was full of water. Is there any evidence that it was on the day Keith visited it? To answer this we must turn from Keith's diary to the article in the London periodical The Sphere published on January 18, 1913 ([Keith: 1913). Spencer believes that this article was also written by Keith, and I am happy to accept this attribution. Under the caption "Where the Piltdown Skull Was Found" is the sentence: "The pit is now full of water owing to the heavy rains" ([Keith 1913::76). Above the caption there is a photograph showing the pit full of water, with only the top level of gravel not submerged.

No wonder that Keith was unable to see the gravel bed anywhere! I contend that it is because the pit was full of water that Keith did not want any further details in his diary. Keith's diaries are erratically entered aids to his memory, not the outline of a complete narrative as Spencer and Tobias seem to assume.

Of course, if Spencer is right and Keith did indeed not consummate his travel by train and foot with an actual visit to the pit, it would be peculiar behaviour. But why is it also suspicious in relation to the Piltdown fraud? Spencer toys with the idea that Keith had already been to the site incognito and did not want to be recognised on a second visit (Spencer 1990a: 191). What is the evidence for this earlier visit7 It is based on a story told by Mabel Kenward in 1973. Fifty years earlier she had found someone scratching around in the pit. She described the person as wearing a grey suit and gum boots and being very tall and in his forties (Spencer 1990a :238). Spencer says that this "general description of the mysterious interloper fitted Keith perfectly." Putting aside the gum boots as presumably not characterising Keith's everyday wear, we are left with three identifying characteristics–a grey suit, tall stature, and early middle age. Tens of thousands of men in southeastern England fitted this general description.

I therefore contend that Spencer and Tobias have misinterpreted Keith's reference to his visit to Piltdown. Keith does not write in his diary that he failed to visit the site or pit. What he writes is that he did not see "the gravel bed." Because the pit was under water when he visited it, it is not surprising that he did not see the lower levels, where the gravel bed was to be found.

To reinterpret the two diary entries is to remove the original grounds for suspecting Keith, and we are left with the corroborative evidence. Onlookers at the trial (Spencer's simile, not mine) will surely feel uncomfortable if the prosecution has to abandon its original case yet still asks to present corroborative evidence. If I were counsel for the defence I would argue that the trial should be aborted and invite Keith to seek substantial damages for wrongful prosecution.


Phillip V. Tobias

Johannesburg, South Africa. 20 I 92

That no fewer than 19 colleagues have taken the trouble to comment on my essay provides an effective answer to those who doubt whether the study of the Piltdown hoax and hoaxers has been worthwhile. Much as I should like to reply to each individually, with so large a number it is necessary to classify the comments and my responses under headings.

I. Implications for the history of science and fraud in general. Although Bowler believes that close concentration on the minutiae of Piltdown "seems to distract from" serious historical study, most others, explicitly or implicitly, agree with Spencer's and my attempts to show that the study has important lessons for the his[278]tory of science and its practitioners. That fraud is a serious factor to be considered in the study of the history of science is agreed by Chippindale, Fedele, Graves, Harrold, Rolland, Runnels, and Trigger. Fedele points out that scientific frauds do not always start as the mature fabrications inferred with hindsight: they may evolve a life of their own. To apply his notion to Piltdown, we could recognise an earlier phase of 1911 (or earlier) to 19I2, when the "finds" were confined to Piltdown (Barkham Manor) and were of better quality, and a later phase of 1913 to 1916,, when second and third "discovery sites" (Barcombe Mills and Sheffield Park) were added and some of the "finds" were of poorer quality (the canine, the cricket-bat-shaped bone "tool," and the thin-vaulted Barcombe Mills calvaria). It might be supposed that Keith's involvement with Dawson was greater in the earlier phase and minimal in the later (we know that Keith was disturbed by the canine). A reanalysis of the sequence of events in the light of Fedele's comment would be useful. To this end I have listed the events in the Piltdown story chronologically (table I).

Graves has contributed thoughtful comments on the general issue of scientific fraud and the fine line he believes exists between it and "a quite innocent selectivity," massaging of results, or parsimony with the truth. To define that line requires a careful comparative study of many instances of alleged fraud (and Graves cites several examples, as do studies quoted in my introduction), but when specimens are deliberately selected, altered, and salted, as at Piltdown, there is no room for doubt on which side of that fine line this episode falls. Harrold urges us to remind our students and the public that scientists are not free of error and even dishonesty–and, I may add, not omniscient. Trigger usefully broadens the socio-political and historical context of the hoax. He refers to Engels's adumbration, more than 100 years ago, of Oakley's (1957) now disconfirmed concept of tools and the origin of hominids. Engels's 1876 statement that "labour created man himself" was elaborated by Woo (1962:94) as "True man was formed when his prehominid ancestors began the making of tools for production" and by Tobias (I989:I46) as "Culture–as reflected initially by evidence of stone tool-making–played an important, probably a crucial role in the genesis of Homo." In other words, the paradigm changed from tool making when hominids emerged (cf. Engels and Oakley) to tool making shortly before "true man" or Homo emerged (cf. Woo and Tobias). Small wonder that the forgers found it necessary to salt the Piltdown gravel not only with "the earliest fossil man" and the fauna which "established" high antiquity but with eoliths and stone tools.

2. Implications for the history of palaeoanthropology and archaeology. Runnels, along with Dennell, Fedele, and some others, accepts as "an excellent point" the role of Piltdown in delaying "unnecessarily" australopithecine acceptance and so in retarding the progress of palaeoanthropology. Stringer and Trigger remind us that this was not the only factor: indeed, several investigators have gained the wrong impression that I believe that the Piltdown forgery was the only factor delaying the


Piltdown Time-table

1899, 1904, or 1907 Dawson apparently first observes "iron-stained flints" from Piltdown.

From about 1903 Keith is expecting to be made F.R.S.

Sometime between 1907 Workmen at Piltdown supposedly find and break up a cranium (the

and 1911 coconut story, dismissed by Oakley (1966) as "a kind of folklore").

1908 Teilhard arrives at Ore Place, Hastings, to study theology and philosophy.

1908 or later One piece of the coconut-cranium is supposedly given to Dawson by


1909 Teilhard meets Dawson.

1911 March Keith records his first rejection by the Royal Society.

July Keith meets Dawson during Hastings excursion.

August 24 Teilhard is ordained a priest at Hastings.

? Autumn Dawson makes his supposedly first "find" at Piltdown (second part of calvaria including portion of supraorbital margin).

1912 February 14 Dawson writes to Smith Woodward about Piltdown finds.

March 3 Keith records his second rejection by the Royal Society.

May 14 Smith Woodward first sees the two Piltdown cranial pieces.

June 2 Smith Woodward and apparently Teilhard first visit Piltdown, along

with Dawson. A third cranial piece, probably occipital, is "found"

by Dawson; also elephant molar and a palaeolith.

June The fourth, fifth, and sixth cranial pieces (right parietal) are "found" by Dawson. The seventh piece, fitting on the broken edge of the

occipital, is "found" by Smith Woodward. Teeth of hippo,

mastodon, and beaver and several flint tools are "found."

Towards end-June Mandible is "found" by Dawson in the presence of Smith Woodward.

October 28 Hrdlicka writes to Keith requesting information on the Piltdown discovery.

From November Teilhard studies palaeontology under M. Boule in Paris.

December 2 Keith is shown the Piltdown remains, apparently for the first time.

December 11 Keith again sees the Piltdown remains.

December 16 Keith writes the BMJ report on the Geological Society meeting.

December 18 Piltdown "discoveries" are announced at the Geological Society meeting and assigned to the new genus and species Eoanthropus


1913 January 4 Keith and his wife visit Piltdown, fail to see the gravel bed.

Early June Dawson and Smith Woodward resume digging at Piltdown. Royal of Surgeons acquires casts of Piltdown; Keith starts a new



Table 1 (Continued)

July 3 Second site (Barcombe Mills) "yields" human frontal bone to


Dawson writes to Smith Woodward about it the same day.

July 11 Smith Woodward et all. visit the Royal College to inspect Keith’s

reconstruction of Piltdown.

July 12 Geological Society visits Piltdown.

Early August Teilhard returns from Paris to Hastings for a retreat.

August 8-10 Dawson "finds" nasal bones and fragments of nasal conchae at


August 11 Woodward shows the Piltdown remains to the International Congress of Medicine. Keith shows his reconstruction of Piltdown

to the Congress at the Royal College, adding 400 cm3 to its

endocranial capacity and proposes to rename the "species" Homo


August 28-30 Teilhard visits Dawson and the "second site."

August 30 Teilhard "finds" the supposed right lower canine, supposedly of the

Piltdown jaw.

September Teilhard leaves Hastings for Jersey and then (October) resumes

science studies in Paris.

September 16 Smith Woodward announces the apelike character of the anterior

teeth of the Piltdown jaw.

1914 Summer Rhinoceros tooth is "found" at Piltdown by Davidson Black. Mastodon

tooth fragments are "found" by Dawson and Smith Woodward.

Late June Cricket-bat-shaped bone "tool" is "found" by Smith Woodward and


December Teilhard is called up as a stretcher-bearer in the French army.

1915 January Dawson reports "finding" a hominid frontal (Piltdown II) at a third site,

presumably Sheffield Park.

January to July Dawson "finds" an occipital part and a molar tooth of Piltdown II, and

an unnamed friend "finds" a rhino molar.

May John Cooke’s oil painting of Piltdown figures is unveiled at the Royal


October Keith’s Antiquity of Man is published.

Last months Dawson suffers from an "anaemic condition."

1916 August 10 Dawson dies. No further human remains emerge from Piltdown,

Barcombe Mills, or Sheffield Park.

1917 January The Barcombe Mills remains, found in Dawson’s estate, are presented

to the British Museum (Natural History).

February 28 Smith Woodward and Elliot Smith report on Piltdown II to the

Geological Society.

acceptance of Australopithecus. Thus, Bowler reminds us of the Europeans' "deep-seated cultural preference for Central Asia" and racialistic "disgust for all things African." He imputes to me "a complete lack of understanding of the cultural environment within which the discoveries were debated," and he misrepresents my position when he states that I claim that Piltdown can explain Keith's own hostility to an African origin. Anyone acquainted with my writings will know that I have for many years been thoroughly acquainted with the Asia-centred biases that prevailed among European and some North American scholars: as two examples, "In erste Linie betrachtete man Asien als Wiege der Menschheit. Afrika spielte in dieser Hinsicht keine Rolle" (Tobias 1968:361 and, again, "In 1925 the prevailing climate of opinion about man's descent pointed to Asia, not Afnca, as the birthplace of mankind.... The discoveries made by Dubois in Java between 1889 and 1895 helped to establish the belief that Asia had been the scene of hominid emergence" (Tobias 1974:38). More recently, I have enumerated several deterrents to the acceptance of Australopithecus: foremost the geographical obstacle, the Asia-centred view, second the morphological deterrent–on a strongly held idea of the day, Australopithecus was the wrong kind of creature, with small, ape-sized brain but human-like teeth and posture. Among other obstacles were the presumption that Taung was too young in geological age, the juvenile status of the Taung discovery, and, as Fedele notes, the inexperienced and "heretical" discoverer, R. A. Dart (Tobias 1985). I did not repeat these oft-quoted matters here, and perhaps this omission led Bowler to ascribe a narrow view to me.

In what sense, then, did I import Piltdown into the discussion of the delayed acceptance of Australopithecus ? First, Piltdown represented the transmutation into hard "fact" of the idea that the human brain and braincase had been present very early, having developed even before the humanisation of the teeth and jaws. To the extent that Piltdown was accepted as verifying that concept, it strengthened the idee fixe and thus reinforced the main morphological argument against the hominid claims of Australopithecus. Secondly and critically, Piltdown provided a hidden agenda to explain Keith's uniquely vehement and sustained opposition to Australopithecus. As L. S. B. Leakey, Washburn, and many present commentators accept, those most strongly supportive of Piltdown were most hostile to Australopithecus –and of none was this truer than of Keith. Add to this the authority and influence of Keith by 1925 and it is clear that the vigour with which he denounced Taung was a major factor in retarding the study of the African origins of hominids.

Fedele has proffered helpful historical and contextual comments. Harrison agrees that much of the dismissive attitude of what he calls the British Establishment (including Keith} was due to Piltdown, but I cannot comprehend the logic of his next remark, "but surely it was because they believed Piltdown to be true, not because they knew it to be false." The latter seeming non sequ i[280] appears to be based on a misconstruction of the link proposed between Keith's sustained advocacy of Piltdown and the hidden agenda behind the bittemess and chronicity of his depreciation of Australopithecus.

Harrold widens the sphere of relevance of Piltdown ta include the current controversy, especially strong in the U.S.A., of "creation science" versus evolution. "Scientific creationists" who have used the Piltdown story to bolster their case against "experts" seldom if ever follow up their gleeful discussion of Piltdown with the fair comment that (as Trigger agrees) it was the rigour of scientific methods that uncovered the hoax.

Rolland helpfully points out that Piltdown influenced also the history of European finds, suggesting that it contributed to the rise of the two-lineage concept of hominid evolution of western Europe. Trigger's analysis of the "idealist" approach of Darwin and many palaeoanthropologists underscores that this included the idea that, while hominids with essentially modem human brains developed early, small-brained hominids were relegated to side branches. This view, he says, was followed by Boule, Vallois, Leakey, Howells, and Teilhard: should one not add Keith, Smith Woodward, Elliot Smith? A few, he says, remained aloof from this trend– Weidenreich, Hrdlicka, Weinert: and Dart?

Washburn and Tappen reiterate a common view that the Bntish Museum (Natural History) had been extremely protective towards the Piltdown remains and even restricted access and that this, in tum, had protected the forgery from earlier detection. On the positive side, Tappen indicates that the Piltdown enigma was important in stimulating Oakley to develop modem dating methods and that the exposure of the fraud led him to institute a policy of freer access to the hominid collections in the museum.

3. History of Piltdown events. I am grateful to Chamberlain for correcting my inference that, since the coconut story was not included in the report of the 1912 gathering at Burlington House, it had not been mentioned at the meeting: press reports and Dawson's notes, cited by Spencer (1990a, b ) make it clear that it must have been recounted. I believe, however, that my tally of discrepancies between the two articles in respect of the precision of localisation of Piltdown remains valid. Nickels is wrong in stating that the "discoveries" at Piltdown were "certainly concluded by 1911." As table I shows, when Dawson wrote to Smith Woodward in February 1912 only two pieces of the Piltdown I calvaria had been "found." "Discoveries" continued in the summers of 1912, 1913, and 1914 and at Piltdown II in 1915. When the "coconut"-like cranium was supposedly found is not known for certain, nor is the date on which Dawson statedly received the first piece of calvaria from the workmen, but it might have been in 1908-9, 1910,, or the spring of 1911, depending on whether one accepts the accounts of Leslie Woodhead, Mabel Kenward, or Dawson (Spencer 1990a :197).). In the words of Oakley (1966:14), the coconut episode "clearly ranks as a kind of folklore." Stringer contributes the important information that his studies on the specimens show that the Piltdown II molar is almost certainly from the left side of the Piltdown I jaw. I may add that, after studying and measuring the original specimens, Hrdlicka (1930:87) reached the same conclusion.

Washburn tells us that he had suspected that the Piltdown hominids were fakes at the same time (July 30, 1953) as did Weiner and that he had continued to work experimentally on jaws at Chicago until the proofs of a hoax were announced. In the interest of historical completeness, it should be noted here that, as late as September 10, 1953, Oakley was contemplating inviting Washburn to join the three British scientists in preparing a statement on the hoax (letter from Oakley to LeGros Clark, September 10, 1953, cited by Spencer 1990a ::20I). Spencer comments, "As later developments indicate it was decided, however, to keep the exposure an entirely British affair." With hindsight one may comment that the hoax seems to have been an all-British affair (unless we include Teilhard, the only foreigner of all the "Piltdown men"), that British palaeoanthropologists seem to have been more deceived by it than those of other countries (pace Fedele), and that, as Campbell (1991a ) points out, the hoax "seriously damaged British anthropology." Against this background, and since nationalist sentiment was involved, it speaks for the vigour and integrity of science in Britain that British scientists provided the proofs of the hoax. As Oakley (1966:12) wrote of that exposure, "It was as though part of the British heritage had been demolished."

4. The Piltdown specimens. Washburn says that while Piltdown I was thick, Piltdown II was not. This is incorrect: the Piltdown II bones were also thick, as is testified by Dawson (cited by Spencer 1990a, b ), Hrdlicka (1930), and Montagu (1951a ) and by the fit of the Piltdown II frontal into the Piltdown I calvaria (Oakley 197I). Moreover, the Piltdown II calvaria, like that of Piltdown I, has the same pattern of cranial thickening, namely, thin external and internal laminae and a greatly thickened, finely honeycombed diploe. Perhaps Washburn is thinking of the Barcombe Mills calvarial fragments, which are less thick (Montagu 1951b ).

Stringer finds the Piltdown I mandible, which morphologically and radio-immunologically is that of an orang- utan, smaller than any mature orang jaw in the collections of the Natural History Museum. He suggests that it was especially selected from an extensive collection such as would have been available to a museum curator. One may add that it was the jaw of an immature orang (Weiner, Clark, and Oakley 1953, Oakley 1971). He is still puzzled about the poorly modified and painted canine which Teilhard found: could this have been the work of another forger (such as Teilhard or Hinton), as Matthews (198I) and Thomson (1991a) believe? On the other hand, on Occam's razor, it is not impossible that Dawson himself prepared the canine with minimal or no input from his scientist-accomplice. At least we know that the canine greatly troubled Keith. Chamberlain perceives this and points out that the canine was "clearly designed to support Woodward and Elliot Smith's reconstruction . . . rather than the alliterative, [281] more prognathic reconstruction proposed by Keith" (I am sure Chamberlain means "more orthognathic"– compare the two on p. 64 of Spencer 1990a ). Chamberlain regards the nature of the canine as damaging the case against Keith. On the other hand, we know that Keith survived the canine and managed somehow to accommodate it in his reconstruction. I believe, however, that the episode of the canine must have created appalling tension between Dawson and the scientist-accomplice. It was probably this strain in the postulated conspiracy that led Langham, when I wrote that dangers lurked in the proposed two-man team of forgers, to reply, "Actually I think I can show that the dynamics of the two-man system were unstable, and very nearly led to one man giving the game away" (Tobias 1990). I never did ascertain to what Langham was referring, but I now believe that the shoddy canine and the probability that Dawson had "gone it alone" created strain between Dawson and his co-conspirator.

Two commentators have referred to the gold-embossed figure on the cover of Keith's Antiquity of Man. According to Kennedy, quoting Oakley, Keith did not carefully supervise the printer's sketch for this embossed figure and overlooked "the artist's rendering of a modern human jaw with well-developed mental eminence"; Kennedy asserts that this oversight argues against Keith's having been the forger (?a non sequitur) . On this point Oakley (196:14) writes: "There is a certain irony in the fact that, as Professor A. J. H. Goodwin of Cape Town pointed out to me, the representation of the Piltdown skull appearing on the cover . . . shows that through a sort of Freudian slip [Keith had allowed the artist to draw a modem human type of lower jaw . . . fitting on to the large-brained Piltdown cranium as he had reconstructed it." Spencer says that Keith, having criticized the unduly apelike reconstruction by Smith Woodward in 1912, wanted to reconstruct the jaw on more human lines. Says Spencer, Keith's "1913 reconstruction . . . is to be found embossed in gold on the front cover of . . . The Antiquity of Man."

Goodwin, Oakley, Kennedy, and Spencer are in my opinion incorrect: the figure on the cover is entirely different from Keith's 1913 reconstruction (pictured by Spencer 1990a ::64; 1990b :78, fig. 1.1b ) in the occipital, parietal, forehead, nasal, maxillary, zygomatic, and chin regions. Where these observers have been misled is in regarding it as the outline of Keith's restoration of Piltdown. It is clearly nothing of the sort. It corresponds in every nuance, dimple, and bulge to the modem English skull which Keith regularly used for comparison in his study of Piltdown (see Keith 1915:331, fig. 112, and 1925, vol. 2:330, fig. 184). On it Keith has had superimposed the Piltdown fragments, in their supposedly correct positions and comfortably filling the modem calvaria, as seen in left lateral view. The resulting palimpsest places the bones of "the earliest Englishman" on the skull outline of one of the latest Englishmen. This interpretation is supported by the fact that, in both editions, the embossed figure is labelled "Piltdown Fragments" (not "Piltdown Skull" contra Kennedy). Nowhere in either edition could I find an explanation of the embossed figure: so the figure is misleading and has doubtless misled many students for 75 years. I do not suggest that it was intended to mislead, but Keith's choice of a modem cranium with an endocranial capacity of 1,425 cm3 (as reported in the captions of the above-mentioned figures) must have been deliberate, for his 1913 reconstruction of Piltdown I yielded a capacity of 1,400 cm3, hundreds of cubic centimetres greater than the values obtained by Smith Woodward, Barlow, and Elliot Smith.

Bowler finds the inclusion of an ape jaw at variance with Keith's theoretical position, which predicted "the discovery of anatomically modem humans as far back as the Pliocene." But Keith and the others who held this position did not predict "the vast antiquity of true humans" (Bowler 1991) in the sense of hominids which were anatomically modem in all parts of their bodies. Like Hooton (1946:3II), they were well aware of the principle of mosaic evolution, and Keith had welcomed the Piltdown mosaic: "as new forms of men and apes were evolved the incidence of change or of progress on the evolving body was local or patchy, some systems of the body being affected, others being left untouched. It is therefore quite possible that we may encounter such forms as . . . Piltdown, in which the characters of one part seem to be at variance with those of another" (Keith 1915:432). The critical item of anatomical modernity he expected in early hominids was the brain. This is restated by Fedele: "Piltdown was the ultimate product of a persistent obsession with the primacy of the brain." Keith shared this fixed idea with Elliot Smith: "It was not the adoption of the erect attitude that made Man from an Ape, but the gradual perfecting of the brain and the slow upbuilding of the mental structure, of which erectness of carriage is one of the incidental manifestations" (Elliot Smith 1912). Keith (1915434) is moved to precis that address by Elliot Smith thus: "He rightly foresaw that before the anthropoid characters would disappear from the body of primal man, the brain, the master organ of the human body, must first have come into its human estate. Under its dominion the parts of the body such as the mouth and hands, the particular servants of the brain, became adapted for higher uses." Keith adds, "Looking at the problem from this point of view, we cannot reject the Piltdown mandible [because it has some simian features].'' These quotations adequately characterise his mind-set. The prediction of ancient modernity applied to the brain but not necessarily to cranial thickness, teeth, jaws, chin, or posture.

It is his seeming misconception of Keith's theoretical position that leads Bowler to doubt the Langham/Spencer thesis. In his review, Bowler (1991:406) concludes, "Until Spencer provides a convincing explanation of why a man committed to the vast antiquity of true humans should have added an ape jaw to a collection of early human bones, the charges against Keith merit only a verdict of 'not proven.’" His question whether Keith would not have been better off without the ape jaw deserves careful thought. In choosing an ape jaw he pur[282]sued at least two objectives The first was to show that Eoanthropus was older and "more primitive" than the oldest European then known (Mauer). That was clearly an objective of the forgers–to find (on English soil) the oldest "hominid" discovered in Europe. The second was to provide for the first time a "missing link," with a blend of human and simian features. I think that these two objectives were overriding, and Keith's own words bear this out. A third possible aspect relates to articulate speech. By salting only half a jaw, the forger left it open for a wider space to be put between the left and right mandibular bodies (to fit the basicranial width of the restored human cranium). This enabled Dawson |1912:184) to write, "as the jaw of Eoanthropus was much wider and more capacious than that of any known ape the majority of anatomists consider that this being was at all events capable of simple articulation." In sum, the ape jaw had a specific function–to project Eoanthropus as a "missing link" more archaic than Mauer– while its inclusion in no way violated Keith's theoretical position. The difficulties of reconstruction which the jaw-plus-cranium entailed were real, but in taking over the reconstructing of the skull in 1913 Keith tried to make the jaw more conformable by giving it a less apelike contour. In 1921 Elliot Smith and Hunter (1922) produced a new restoration which made the calvaria more apelike and thus brought it, as they thought, into better conformity with the jaw. Instead of adapting the jaw to the calvaria, as Keith attempted to do, they adapted the calvaria–and hence the endocranial cast– to the ape jaw. Both solutions worked for a time while Smith Woodward's reconstruction was the original means of reconciling the jaw and calvaria. Weinert's (1951:114) reconstruction was yet another which purported to show the reconcilability of the two parts. Hence, in gaining his two principal aims by using an ape jaw, Keith did not create insuperable difficulties for his colleagues and himself. Without the ape jaw, restorations would have been relatively easy, but the two all- important conceptual goals would not have been achieved.

5. The complexity of the hoax. Several colleagues (e.g., Tappen, Washburn, Fedele, Langdon (1991) have expressed doubts that the forgery was as extensive and complex as I have suggested. None has set out his conception of this supposedly limited scope except in such vague statements as "No special knowledge was required." Some, it seems, are under the impression that the mere staining, preparing, and planting of a few hominoid bones is all that was involved. Langdon (1991) claims that an amateur with common sense could have devised the forgery, and Tappen and Washburn support his view, while Fedele questions why I argue that competence in so many disciplines is connoted by the elements of the forgery. Even the quantity of planted material has been played down. Washburn claims that not many specimens were involved and offers a very incomplete list. Accordingly, I have listed, as nearly as I am able from Johannesburg, all of the specimens that were salted in and removed from the three (not two) sites (table I). No fewer than 47 specimens are featured: they had to be selected from a variety of sources, prepared, stained, and salted, presumably at various times, into three different localities. I believe that the planning of the initial hoax and of subsequent stages and of the extension from the first site (Barkham Manor) to the second and third sites is more indicative of the wide knowledge required than is its mere execution.

First, a decision had to be made as to the kind of human sku1l to be chosen. Already, by 1912:, a considerable number of modem-looking human remains claimed to be of Pleistocene or early Holocene age had been found in England, among them (in chronological order of their discovery dates) Foxhall (1855), Muskham (1862), Kent's Cavern (1867, 1873), Bury St. Edmonds (1882), Tilbury (1883), Galley Hill (1888), Dartford (1902), Baker's Hole (1902), Gough's Cave (1903), Langwith (1909), Ipswich (October 1911), and Halling (August 1912).. Most of these remains had been studied by Keith personally, and, with few exceptions, he had attested to their essential anatomical modernity (Keith 1915). Indeed, these finds were important in consolidating Keith's concept of the high antiquity of anatomical modernity of the calvaria (see, e.g., his comments on the Halling skull in his chapter on "Palaeolithic Englishmen," Keith 1915:80). Many were unconvincing at the time because they were of doubtful antiquity (e.g., Dartford) or "mutilated" (e.g., Bury St. Edmonds) or did not include the calvaria (e.g., Kent's Cavern and Foxhall). Although with hindsight we know from fluorine and other tests that many were quite recent, intrusive burials into older deposits, almost all were found in deposits whose implements and fossils pointed to a Pleistocene age. The evidence which would establish the concept of Pleistocene, Palaeolithic Englishmen once and for all and provide tangible proof that "racial characters can be transmitted for a thousand generations, and still retain their essential features almost unchanged" (Keith 1915:80) had not yet, however, come to light. A new, carefully prepared "discovery" would surely furnish that tangible proof.

The Galley Hill skull seems to have provided the forger with his more immediate prototype. It had a large endocranial capacity, measured by Keith as 1,350-1,400 cm3. The morphology was totally modem save that the cranium was thick (though not as thick as in Piltdown I [Keith 1915:518]), and Keith thought he could identify "primitive features" in the teeth and in the shallow mandibular notch. These supposedly primitive features are not impressive and appear not to have convinced the anatomists of the day, as Keith laments (1915 192). Nor were the geologists satisfied as to their antiquity when E. T. Newton presented the remains to the Geological Society in 1894. In fact, long before Oakley's fluorine test indicated that the skeleton was an intrusive burial, possibly from a Late Palaeolithic or Mesolithic horizon most British scientists did not accept Galley Hill. Yet for Keith it was a revelation and apparently a turning point (Keith 1915:183-84), my emphasis):

When I commenced a systematic examination of [283] these remains in 1910 my attitude towards them was one of scepticism. The discovery of a man–differing only in details from men now living in England – in so ancient a formation seemed at variance with a belief in the orderly succession of evolutionary stages in man’s early history. It was only when I saw that there was no possibility of denying the authenticity of the discovery without doing an injury to truth, that it became apparent to me, as it had done to many other inquirers [he cites Rutot, Giuffrida-Ruggeri, and Klaatsch], that the find at Galley Hill had to be accepted as a fact, and that our beliefs regarding man’s antiquity must be modified accordingly .


Fraudulent Elements from the Piltdown Area

Piltdown I (Barkham Manor)

Hominid Nine calvarial fragments of Homo sapiens, subsequently joined into

four main fragments (right parietale, left frontoparietale, left

temporale, occipitale)

Two ossa nasalia of H. sapiens

Fragments of nasal conchae

Right ramus and corpus mandibulae, with M1 and M2, of

immature orang (Pongo )

Artificially shaped canine [?immature; ? of Pongo :? jaw)

Fauna Molar cusp of Mastodo n species (cf. M. avernensis )

Two fragments of molar teeth of Stegodon sp

Part of molar crown of Hippopotamus sp.

Premolar of Hippopotamus sp.

Basal fragment of antler of Cervus cf. elaphau

["from adjacent field]

Molar of Castor fiber

Premolar of C. fiber

Tooth of "aged horse" Equns sp. ("from adjacent field")

"Cut" and 'scratched" longitudinally split deer metatarsal

"Cultural remains" At least three "Palaeolithic implements"

At least nine "eoliths" {some "from gravel," some "from adjacent field"

Piltdown II (probably Sheffield Park)

Hominid Fragment of right frontale, possibly of same H. sapiens calvaria as

Piltdown I (Oakley 1971), possibly a different individual (Spencer

1990a :229-30)

Portion of occipitale of H. sapiens, different individual from

Piltdown I (Oakley 1971)

Lower M1, probably belonging to Piltdown I jaw (Hrdlicka, Stringer)

Fauna Fragment of rhinoceros molar

"Cultural remains" ? None reported

Barcombe Mills

Hominid Large part of frontal bone of H. sapiens

Two fragments joined to form a small part of ?right panetal bone ( or perhaps part of frontal bone of a second individual [Montagu]

Left and right matching or antimeric zygomatic bones of H. sapiens

not fitting Barcombe Mills frontal

Right mandibular molar of H. sapiens

Fauna None reported

"Cultural remains": None reported

Incidentally, according to Joseph McCabe, in contrast to Keith's view that Klaatsch accepted his claims for Galley Hill, "Professor Klaatsch's opinion, that the remains are much later, is the general opinion" (Heilborn 1923:274n). So, while Keith saw in Galley Hill the transmutation of a concept into hard fact, he grieved that for a variety of reasons that skeleton had not convinced his colleagues. If Galley Hill had not done the trick either in 1896 or after Keith's advocacy in 1910, perhaps the next "find" would do it.

What was needed was a skull whose endocranium bore witness to the former presence of a brain of essentially modern form and size but with even more patently "primitive" features than Galley Hill. If the Galley Hill cranium was not thick enough to convince the world of its primitiveness, Piltdown would have to be still thicker. If the "primitive" traits of the teeth and mandible of Galley Hill were too nebulous to be plausible, then a much more "primitive" jaw would be required. Up to that time, the Mauer mandible was the most ''primitive" hominid jaw known. Java (save for the probably juvenile Kedungbrubus jaw), China, and South and East Africa had yet to yield their anatomically more archaic jaws. If Piltdown was to be a claimant as the oldest European hominid, it had to be furnished with a jaw more "primitive" than that of Mauer. The only model for such a jaw known in 1911 was that of an anthropoid ape. Hence, with these objectives, the forger-in-chief had to select an ape jaw.

Apes have very long, prognathous jaws, which would inevitably have produced a serious incongruity between a large adult ape jaw and the modem human cranium. To minimize the anatomically poor fit between mandible and cranium, an immature ape jaw was chosen–and this underlines the importance of Stringer's comment that the Piltdown mandible was smaller than any adult orang mandible in a large museum collection. Further to diminish too odd and obvious a misfit, the forger took his cue from Galley Hill: in that specimen, the mandibular fossa of the temporal bone is present but the condylar process of the mandible is missing. Because of the usual hand-in-glove fit between these two parts, it was easy to restore the missing condyle of the Galley Hill jaw (fig. 63 of Keith 1915:188). The condylar process of the Piltdown jaw was removed, but the mandibular fossa [284] was present in the cranium. This would have made it easy to create an artificial congruence between jaw and cranium by restoring the "missing" condylar process so as to fit perfectly into the fossa.

The choice of a sufficiently thick-boned cranium I have already discussed. Not only Galley Hill but the Olmo calvaria found in 1863 in Tuscany (a cast of which Keith [1915:207 ff]. had studied), the Clichy cranium from Paris, and other ancient or supposedly ancient skulls were thick. Cranial thickening, it is well known, may be produced by various pathological conditions. It was necessary for the forgers to choose a modem cranium of large capacity but very thick and free from obvious pathology. We may accept that the planted cranium had originally been exhumed, so no medical certificate was attached to it! Whether it was normal or pathological had to be inferred from the bone structure. Bone pathology in skeletal specimens, where no clinical history is available, is extraordinarily difficult to diagnose, and at that time relatively few pathologists had devoted major studies to bone pathology in patients and exhumed subjects. This was S. G. Shattock's important opening, but at the time when the Piltdown cranium was being selected (?1911 or earlier) his major study on cranial thickening, which he appears to have undertaken for the International Congress of Medicine in July 1913, had not been completed or published. Hence the judgment of the forger-in-chief would have been the sole basis for the decision on the normality (or otherwise) of the cranium selected. Such judgment would have required a wide experience of abnormal crania and the ability to recognise and to exclude thick crania showing gross or obvious signs of disease. His experience was probably not so extensive as to allow him to recognise subtler grades of bony pathology such as those which Shattock thought he could detect in the Piltdown calvaria. If the "senior conspirator" had selected the cranium and handed it to Dawson intact, he would not have been able to observe the unusual character of the thickening, the deep meningeal vascular grooves, and the raised patches on the endocranial surface and could have assumed that it was normal.

When specimens were planted at the second site (Barcombe Mills), the crania chosen had less thick bones than Piltdown I (Montagu 1951b ). Was this a mistake, or an indication that Dawson had acted on his own? These bones were shown to Smith Woodward soon after their "discovery," but he did nothing about them. Was he unimpressed because the cranial bones lacked the great thickening of Piltdown I? Moreover, the stained molar tooth planted at Barcombe Mills was typical of the modem human "caucasoid mandibular second molar" (Montagu 1951b ). Was this combination of a modem, thin-boned, human cranium with a modem human tooth the recipe that spelled failure for Barcombe Mills? Although a second "discovery" that agreed with Piltdown in possessing a modern human brain size in an apparently ancient geological context was needed to convert those who were questioning Piltdown, clearly Barcombe Mills failed to convince even Smith Woodward. What was needed, if wavering European and American colleagues were to be won over, was a new, third "discovery" which repeated the recipe as before and combined thick vault bones with a doctored ape tooth. That was the purpose and the nature of Piltdown II {from ?Sheffield Manor), and we know that it not only convinced Smith Woodward but converted Osborn (1921) and helped, along with a new reconstruction of Piltdown by Elliot Smith and Hunter (1922), to lessen the doubts of Boule (1923).

This discussion confirms that the selection of the hominoid remains involved appreciable knowledge of human and ape anatomy (not only osteology and odontology but neuroanatomy), the hominid fossil record, particularly of Europe, the concepts and history of palaeoanthropology, and bone pathology.

The selection of the sites required a thorough knowledge of the geology of the chosen area. The choice of the Weald of southern England was partly opportunistic: Dawson lived at Lewes, close to the southern margin of the Weald, where there is a gap in the chalk uplands of southern England known as the South Downs. From its course south-eastward across the Weald, the River Ouse passes southward through the gap to reach the English Channel at Newhaven. Dawson and others had found widely distributed "peculiar tabular flints" and traces of ancient gravel deposits over a wide area of the Weald of Sussex from just north of Piltdown in the north to just north of Lewes in the south. Eastward the Weald was considered to have extended formerly across the Channel to France. Knowledge of the past and present geology, geography, and geomorphology of the Weald, the Ouse Valley, and the Piltdown plateau, the relationship to the North and South Downs, and the distribution of suitable gravel deposits and exposures was a sine qua non for the choice of a site.

The selection of the stone specimens called for knowledge of the forms of stone implements from south-east England. Palaeolithic remains were known from the area, and objects identified as "Chellean" or "preChellean" were selected and "brilliantly- coloured iron-red" (Keith 1915:30I). However, Heidelberg (Mauer) was considered to belong to a horizon identified by A. L. Rutot as belonging to the "Mafflian" or penultimate phase of the "Eolithic culture.'' If Piltdown was to be older than Mauer, "pre-Mafflian eoliths" had to be salted. The Piltdown spoils included both unrolled and rolled "eoliths," the latter being "derived," according to Dawson (1913), from an older drift. The "eoliths" were stained brown. Thus two technologically and typologically different assemblages of stone tools were chosen, and the differences were highlighted by differential staining. The pre-Chellean artefacts represented the later sample and were said to stem from the overlying Piltdown beds, of presumptive Pleistocene age; the "eoliths" represented the earlier sample and were assigned to the deepest, supposedly Pliocene stratum. The salting of Piltdown with stone objects clearly required more than a superficial archaeological knowledge.

The selection of the fauna required a good knowledge [285] of the palaeontology of Europe as well as of those anatomical parts, especially teeth, which would be identifiable. The Mastodon molar cusp, of the same type as M. avernensis, was much rolled and bespoke a Pliocene or even Miocene age. The two fragments of a Stegodon molar were "evidently . . . broken with great force but . . . scarcely rolled" and were considered to belong to an earlier Pliocene type than the Upper Pliocene Elephas meridionalis (Dawson and Woodward 1913:139--43). The hippopotamus (cf. H. amphibius ) and the beaver (Castor fiber ) reflect a probably Pleistocene fauna. Thus, the fauna was so selected as to convey the impression that two distinct faunal stages were represented. The two faunae supposedly present at Piltdown, like the two "archaeological assemblages," were considered by Keith (IBIS) to show that two different ages were represented, a "bottom layer" presumably of Pliocene age and overlying beds of Pleistocene age, though Smith Woodward in 1913 was more cautious. The remains of "Eoanthropus," though initially assigned by Dawson and Smith Woodward (1913:I37) to the early Pleistocene, "almost (if not absolutely) of the same geological age" as the Mauer jaw, were deemed by Keith to be older on the evidence that the mandible was more simian than that of Mauer (see his comments in Dawson and Woodward 1913:I48 and Keith 1915:310-11).

Even without our considering the preparation of the remains by breaking, grinding, and staining, enough has been said to show that the planning of the hoax and the selection of the specimens required a thorough acquaintance with and competence in at least half a dozen fields of science. While Dawson had had experience of the geology and archaeology of south-eastem England, for expertise in the other areas, for the overall design of the hoax in all its ramifications, and for the selection and provision of most of the appropriate specimens he would clearly have had to rely on the advice, guidance, and organizing skills of a very well-informed scientist-accomplice. Grigson says that Keith had very little knowledge of archaeology: but he would not have needed much, as Dawson had had 20 years of archaeological experience in the Weald. Moreover, it is clear from The Antiquity of Man how broad was Keith's familiarity with all the relevant fields and sources of information in each.

Some aspects of the preparation of the specimens were admittedly no more than the work of an amateur (e.g., the staining of the specimens and the smashing of the Stegodon molar). Other aspects required more expert participation (e.g., the pattern of artificial attrition of the molars, which was so convincing as to lead Smith Woodward to remark, "the mandible appears to be almost precisely that of an ape, with nothing human except the molar teeth" [Dawson and Woodward 1913:135], the regions of the mandible which were broken away, and the pattern of breakage along the edges of the calvarial fragments so as to permit the reconstruction of smaller-brained and larger-brained calvariae). These and other anatomical nuances connote the eye and hand of the experienced anatomist evident also in the preparation of the Piltdown II molar. Only the preparation of the canine strikes a discordant note, with its excessive crown wear but wide pulp cavity without secondary dentine. The grinding of the crown exposed the pulp cavity, a severe degree of wear for a hominid canine. Then sand grains entered into the exposed pulp chamber and root canal: how they came to occupy that space has not been explained, to my knowledge. Perhaps they were a by-product of the grinding of the surface, but it is not impossible that the forger forced the sand grains into the cavity in an effort to create an artificial secondary dentine. If this was the intention, the X-ray of the canine shows how unsuccessful the operator was in achieving his objective: the contents of the cavity do not resemble secondary dentine–they look just like sand grains forced into the space! The fraudulent alteration of the canine is the only serous weakness in the preparation of the specimens: the problems of the grinding of the molar surfaces betray lesser, indeed rather subtle grades of inexpertness. The poor quality of the canine preparation and its painted surface have raised valid doubts (e.g., for Stnnger) that its authorship is the same as for the other planted specimens: it does not bear the mark of the master forger or of Dawson, who seems to have been well acquainted with staining by potassium bichromate. In sum, excepting the canine, some aspects of the preparation of the hominoid specimens strengthen the case for the participation, with Dawson, of an expert in anatomy. Zuckerman (1970:68-69) goes so far as to assert: "Accepting that the jaw-bone was deliberately planted and faked, the faker must have known more about primate anatomy than all the highly distinguished anatomists he deluded. He knew enough to take them in not once but repeatedly. And presumably he knew which features to fake so as to confuse them most."

6. The pointers against Keith. A number of commentators have lighted on one or other of the nine pointers I listed and sought to discount it or explain it away. Wright believes that the case has only two "foundations," namely, the BMJ article and the visit to Piltdown. Yet Keith's response to Hrdlicka and his destruction of the Dawson correspondence were among the early-detected pointers. Even if Wright were correct about the "original grounds" for suspicion, it is illogical to regard them. as the principal or sole grounds of the case. No "charges" were brought until Spencer, following Langham, had amassed a considerable body of evidence, to which my analysis has added new points (as Chippindale, Dennell, Fedele, Runnels, Tappen, and Wright appear to appreciate!. I believe that Wright errs in dismissing the charge on the basis of only two pointers.

Harrison, Grigson, Wright, and Kennedy disparage the point about the BMJ article, but it is difficult to see the relevance of Kennedy's comment that others might also have had advance knowledge of Dawson's discovery. We know that the news had even reached Hrdlicka in America, but this is not the point at issue. Grigson reiterates her already published comments on this. When she says that Spencer does not tell us what the privileged information was that Keith included in the BMJ article, [286] she overlooks or disregards my analysis of the differences between the two reports, which gives this information. In restating her argument with Spencer, she also overlooks the fact that I have found her and Zuckerman to be correct on several major aspects of the argument. She restates that material could have been added after the meeting even though I accept this point. Wright errs in stating that Spencer has alleged "a suspicious lack of detail in Keith's account of the meeting": as my analysis clarifies, there was a suspicious presence of detail in Keith's account. He misinterprets my position by saying I have abandoned the evidence of the BMJ article: I have abandoned the argument from timing and from anonymity, and I have accepted Chamberlain's point that the story of the coconut skull must have been told at the meeting, but I have not discarded the argument that Keith included in the BMJ more precise topographical information than either Dawson or Smith Woodward was prepared to reveal at the meeting. Chippindale understands this well when he refers to the BMJ article as containing "information that remained privileged after the meeting"–and this is almost certainly the point that caused Smith Woodward to enquire (apparently fruitlessly) about its authorship.

Two commentators have suggested alternative explanations of the Keith’s failure to find Piltdown on January 4, 1913. Kennedy, taking my point that it was strange that Keith should have gone there without the two principal investigators, suggests that Keith was frustrated by the lack of an invitation and so tried to find it himself and failed. Two queries may be made: What evidence is there of this supposed frustration? I can think of none. Why did Keith fail to find it, when he had written on the locality with such precision in the BMJ ? Either it was a deliberate blind or some other factor supervened. Wright provides an ingenious suggestion of another factor–that the pit was under water–and uses a picture published with [?Keith's] article in The Sphere to support this. However, Keith's diary entry says simply ''didn't see the gravel bed anywhere"–hardly what on' might expect him to have written if he had found the pit and seen it filled with water up to but excluding "the top level of gravel not submerged." If Keith had seen: the pit with any gravel at all, would he have written what he did? It seems unlikely, unless he had determined to place a mendacious account in his diary as blind. If Keith had taken the photograph in The Sphere during his January 4 visit to the area, his diary entry was deceptive. If the diary entry referring to the white gate, of Barkham Manor drive is correctly interpreted by Langham and Spencer as showing that the Keiths did not go beyond the gate, it is strange indeed that they did not walk along the driveway, as the site is some distance along the drive and could not have been seen from the gate (Spencer, personal communication). Had he ventured along the drive and enquired at the manor house he would certainly have recorded the fact in his otherwise most detailed diary entry. The fact that he did not do so, after having come so far, is itself suspicious: did Keith have a reason for not wishing to show and introduce himself at the manor house? Spencer suggests that was Keith whom Mabel Kenward had previously accostered at the site and that he therefore could not again show his face before her. Another difficulty is that the writer of the Sphere article says that he closely inspected .the gravel at Piltdown site. If, as Wright accepts, Keith did write the Sphere article and examined the gravel, it must have been exposed on the day of the visit in question. If the pit was under water on January 4, the writer of the Sphere article must have examined the gravel on some other visit. Since Keith's diary shows that that other visit could not have been between January 4 and the date of the Sphere article (January 18), such a visit, when the gravel was exposed, must have been at an earlier date. If so, the diary entry is confirmed as a blind. This conditional conclusion stands even if we accept Wright's view. Therefore the item must remain puzzling and suspicious and a likely pointer to Keith's cover-up of a prior visit to Piltdown.

Chamberlain distinguishes between Keith's first meeting with Dawson on a personal basis and earlier professional encounters. Yet in the Autobiography Keith draws no distinction in his account of Dawson's visit on January 28 [sic], 1913, and uses the words, "He introduced himself as Mr. Charles Dawson." Further, Oakley and Weiner asked Keith, "When did you first see him?"–with no qualifications attached. These facts argue against Chamberlain's suggestion. Fedele believes that the finding of Keith's covert connection with Dawson before December 18, 1912, is a breakthrough. Bowler, too, finds it suspicious that Keith knew Dawson and the Piltdown site earlier than he would later admit, and he offers an alternative though unsupported explanation. Spencer adds a further pointer to the Keith-Dawson axis, namely, Keith's admission to Oakley and Weiner that he had known that the mandible had been treated with potassium bichromate and that Dawson had told him this, a matter on which he had remained silent when Marston (1936) had raised it. The information about the mandible certainly did not stem from Woodward (1933:90), who writes, "It should also be noted that Dawson altered the colour of the first pieces of the human skull which he found by dipping them in bichromate of potash to harden them. The other pieces were hardened merely by a solution of gelatine, which preserved their original colour." The mandible was not included among the parts said to have been treated with potassium bichromate.

No commentator challenges the validity of Keith's prevarication to Hrdlicka, and Kennedy agrees that it is puzzling. Fedele suggests there must be a simpler explanation than deceit. The same could of course be suggested of some of the other eight pointers: yet an ineluctable pattern runs through them.

Kennedy is puzzled by Keith's complete and selective destruction of all letters from Dawson and notes on Piltdown, and Fedele considers this a breakthrough. Only Grigson questions the selectivity of the destruction. She repeats the contents of her letter (Grigson 1991), but unfortunately she does not comment on my [287] analysis. Here is the twofold basis for the claim: First, Keith told Weiner and Oakley that he had destroyed all his letters from Dawson "some years ago." Secondly, Spencer failed to find a single item of this correspondence when he catalogued Keith's private and professional papers in the Royal College of Surgeons. Grigson (1991) now speaks of many of Keith's surviving papers "which Spencer did not look at," but, significantly, she does not claim to have found a single item of the Dawson correspondence. The claim that the destruction was selective and complete is therefore not refuted or weakened by her comments: it remains puzzling and very suspicious. Of course, no one has claimed that the destruction of the Dawson correspondence on its own "makes Keith a forger" {pace Grigson).

One aspect of the pointer on the 13 thoracic vertebra puzzles Kennedy: "Dawson's claim that Keith had been present during the photographic sessions at the Royal College of Surgeons." Dawson's actual words were, "I have had to work the photographs under the nose of Keith and his assistant" (letter to Smith Woodward, May 11, 1912: Spencer 1990a :194-95), my emphasis). From four dictionaries and a book of idioms, the phrase under the nose of may have a straightforward meaning, "before one's eyes," "in one's presence," and this is Kennedy's interpretation of it. A more nuanced meaning imparts the ideas of "regardless of the person's displeasure," "in defiance of," or "without the person's perceiving it.' The last gloss makes the idiom almost the equivalent of "behind the person's back," and this is the meaning that Spencer and Langham appear to have used in conjecturing that the photographs were taken while Keith was away in Jersey May 2-20, 1912. Unless Kennedy has other evidence that Keith was present when the photographs were taken, we cannot divine which sense Dawson intended.

Grigson tries to make a case, as does Kennedy, that Dawson need not have seen Keith during his study of the skeletons with a 13th thoracic vertebra. That there were 12,000 visitors to the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons during the year is of doubtful relevance What is relevant is how many of those visitors wished to study human material with a view to writing an article to be submitted to the Royal Society. Probably a miniscule percentage, among which tiny minority was Dawson. This small category one would expect to be interviewed by a conscientious conservator. Keith knew of Dawson's work in the museum, for the latter (quoting the assistant) reported to Smith Woodward that "Keith is rather puzzled what to make of it all" [Spencer 1990a :195].). Grigson sees no reason Dawson should not have investigated the 13th vertebra. I, on the other hand, see no normally acceptable reason he should have, for he was an experienced amateur archaeologist and geologist but not a human or comparative anatomist. It would have been surprising for Keith–or his delegated assistant–to give permission without being satisfied as to Dawson's credentials or competence unless, as Spencer and Langham have surmised, Keith's approval had another purpose.

On Dawson's "honesty," the latest instalment in Grigson's (1991) argument with Spencer provides an interesting tailpiece: in his "last known words on Piltdown," a letter to Marjorie Fry on August 25, 1954, Keith says of Dawson, "Never was a man so plainly stamped with honesty in word, in face, in manner; such a simple hearted straight honest fellow."

On Piltdown's authenticity, I thank Tappen for offering a further dictionary-inspired interpretation of what Weidenreich might have meant when he dubbed "Eoanthropus " a chimaera.

The misrepresentation of Shattock's results is accepted by Harrison as new evidence, though he opines that it sounds more like a misquotation. His suggested interpretation is, as we have seen, at variance with Keith's own words in both editions of The Antiquity of Man. Kennedy, too, admits that he finds the misrrepresentation puzzling. Grigson states that before I drew attention to the significance of Shattock's report Spencer [1990a :230, n. 52] had declared it ambiguous, with which conclusion she agrees. What she overlooks is that Spencer has apparently misread Shattock's report when he states that "after reviewing a number of morbid conditions [in relation to the Piltdown calvaria], Shattock ultimately rejected them all." Whereas Spencer did not know what to make of Shattock's report, my analysis, based on a careful reading of Shattock's full report, is that he rejected all but one morbid condition.

After a prolonged examination of the Piltdown cranium, Shattock drew attention to the following special features: (1) the marked thickening of the cranium; (2) the uniform distribution of the thickening, even such generally thin areas as the temporal squama and the cerebellar fossae of the occipital bone being affected; (3) the unusual pattern of thickening, namely, very thin external and internal tables, the thickening being produced by the diploe, which comprises "a lung-like cancellated tissue of remarkable uniformity without any indication of a deeper horizontal trend"; (4) deepened meningeal vascular grooves on the endocranial surface; and ( 5 ) patchy elevations, in the form of low, flat processes or resembling narrow ridges that in the vicinity of the posterior inferior angle of the left parietal become tortuous, somewhat parallel and directed in a general way at right angles to a meningeal vascular groove (Shattock 1914: 42-43). A sixth feature he mentioned, namely, premature synostosis at the sutures, is premature only on Keith's estimate of the age as about 25 years; as this estimate is clearly influenced by the state of dentition in the mandible and as the calvaria alone bespeaks an individual "of somewhat advanced age" (Hrdlicka 1930:72), we may disregard it.

Next Shattock reviewed eight conditions that might have affected the cranium, including a section on the reconstruction of bone formerly thickened by disease. As I have said, he excluded seven of these conditions and went on to state, "The only disease, in a modern list, remaining which might bring about such a thickening as is shown in the Piltdown skull, is a past rachitis [rickets] that has been followed by a reconstruction of the bone" [288] (p. 44). He described a skull from Gloucestershire with a similar diagnosis, though with a few additional pathognomonic features, and a dynastic Egyptian parietal bone showing immense thickening, open diploe with very thin external and internal tables, and deepened vascular grooves that he considered incontestably morbidly thickened and subsequently reconstructed. He concluded with the passage earlier quoted. There is no sign of his giving Piltdown a clean bill of health, contrary to what Keith emphatically asserted citing the same report.

This was a clearly false statement by Keith, and this cannot be gainsaid either by Harrison's suggesting that it was a "misquotation" or by Grigson's saying that Keith "glossed over" what Shattock wrote or trying to explain it away by saying that Keith was in a corner and "would not accept anything that interfered with that view [of the antiquity of the modern human brain-case], whether it was the pathology of the skull or the discovery of new fossils such as Taung." "Failing to accept" Shattock's view would have been not unreasonable for a person with a powerful fixed idea, but attributing to Shattock a view diametrically opposite to the one he expressed is misrepresentation that brooks no euphemisms.

Chamberlain's "discovery" of what Smith Woodward wrote in his posthumously published book is interesting. We do not know the source of Smith Woodward's statement that Shattock later became "convinced that they were not diseased." Shattock had been dead for 20 years when Smith Woodward completed his book the day before he died in 1944. It is possible that the latter might have been indirectly quoting Keith's version of what Shattock had said. Even if we accept a later change of mind by Shattock, this does not detract from Keith's offence in his 1915 book, a year after Shattock's report was published.

Nickels and Kennedy ask if there is evidence that Keith resorted to other unethical deeds or hoaxes. This misrepresentation of Shattock's position and his response to Hrdlicka tell of such evidence.

Hrdlicka (1930:72), after studying the original bones, expressed the view that the Piltdown cranium was "not fully normal": its thickness, deep meningeal vascular grooves, and unusual density (small diploic spaces) "suggest strongly an abnormal condition, such as is met with in some of the Florida, and other aboriginal skulls in America." Oakley, who was steeped in the study of Piltdown and who considered his part in the exposure of the hoax the most exciting phase in his career, spoke unequivocally of the Piltdown cranium as "that of a modern type of man with pathological thickening of the bone" (Oakley 1966:13). I have added to Shattock's list an extra set of conditions, some haemoglobinopathies, which are sometimes associated with cranial thickening.

7. Detractors and admirers. Kennedy chides me for citing only one of Keith's admirers: I quote Field (from a publication) and McCown (from indirect personal communications). As against these two friends, I cited three enemies. My modest search for other published appraisals of Keith bore no fruit, save that in 1923 Boule called him "an able anatomist" and much later Hooton (1946:362) named him "perhaps the greatest authority on fossil man." I regret to say that Kennedy himself is one-sided in stating that reviewers of Spencer's book have not been supportive and naming seven examples. He does not mention any of those other reviewers who have been more supportive: eight examples known to me are B. G. Campbell, P. Cochrane, B. Fagan, B. Ann Kevles, T. Murray, Pat Shipman, C. B. Stringer, and N. Wade–not to speak of my introduction to Spencer's (1990a ) book.

8. Motives. The major motives ascribed to Keith by Spencer and Langham are the realisation of a concept and ambition. My analysis has, I believe, substantiated and strengthened both motives, and Rolland agrees that they are more credible than the notion of a practical joke or prank (restated here by Chamberlain, Grigson, and Kennedy).

On Keith's ambition and status in the profession, Washburn repeats the claim of Smith (1990) that Keith was full of honours. As my analysis makes clear, these had not been achieved by the time of the hoax. Particularly, the three most important stepping stones to Keith's recognition and distinction had not been attained by 1911. Washhurn refers to many honours cited in An Autobiography: of those listed by Keith, only one, the honorary LL.D. of Aberdeen University (Keith's alma mater], came in 1911. The case stands that Keith had not achieved major recognition by the time the hoax was conceived, planned, and executed and that he had craved his F.R.S. since about 1903.

In questioning the argument about Keith's ambition, Nickels uses a chronology the errors of which I have already pointed out. His conception of "the essence of the Tobias-Spencer argument regarding Keith's motives" is incorrect. I cite the sequence of events about the Royal Society to rebut Smith's (1990) and Kennedy's (199I) assertions that at the time of the hoax Keith was at the top of his career. Keith did not receive his F.R.S. until 1913, when he was 46 years old, and, through the kindness of the Secretary of the Royal Society and Frank Spencer, I learned that Keith had first been nominated for a fellowship in 1910, when he was 44. His candidature was twice rejected (in 1911 and 1912; see An Autobiography). In contrast, Smith Woodward became an .R.S. in 1901 at 37 years of age and Elliot Smith in 1907 at 36.. Keith was five years older than Elliot Smith, and, when the hoax was prepared, Elliot Smith but not Keith had been so honoured. No wonder that, when Keith finally received his fellowship, he wrote that he had expected to reach this goal ten years earlier. His expectation of this honour and his impatience when, year after year, it did not come to light must have played a major :role in Keith's mind-set at the time of the hoax.

With the other proposed motive Fedele, Graves, and Rolland agree. In the words of Graves, "The support of strongly held belief often seems to be a basic motive for scientific fraud." Washburn tries to discount this argument by pointing out two examples of a later change of mind by Keith. We know that Keith changed his mind often (e.g., on the supposed symmetry of the Piltdown [288] calvaria, on the nature of the Piltdown brow [289] [from modem human to orangoid on the sex of the Galilee skull from Zuttiya, on the australopithecines), but the proposed motive applied in the earlier years. Later changes of mind, when Keith was elderly, do not logically negate his earlier burning quest to prove the high antiquity of cerebral modernity.

Washburn says that I neglected to note that the work in Dart's laboratory stopped for some dozen years after Taung. If correct, this suggests no more than a negative response to the onslaught of Keith and others rather than another reason for the tardy acceptance of Australopithecus. On the facts, Washburn is not right: Dart published studies on Australopithecus and on hominid evolution in 1925, 1926, 1927, 1929, 1930, 1933, 1934, with archaeological and physical anthropological studies in 1926, 1927, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1934, to which must be added numerous publications by other members of his department such as A. Galloway, L. H. Wells, G. W. H. Schepers, G. D. Laing, the Gear brothers, and others.

Nickels and Runnels have queried why Smith Woodward was brought in if Keith's career advancement was an issue. Spencer’s comment addresses this issue, and I reply as follows: Dawson was an Honorary Collector for the British Museum (Natural History); Dawson had for some time been sending things to Smith Woodward; Woodward was a ''friend" of Dawson; Woodward was a more senior scientist, with an F.R.S. although only two years older than Keith. Moreover, although it was Smith Woodward who with Dawson unveiled the ''find" to the world, Keith immediately adopted it in the sense that he made a rival reconstruction to the museum's version, made inordinate claims for its importance, wrote many popular articles on it, and upstaged Smith Woodward and the museum by arranging a special demonstration of his reconstruction to the International Medical Congress at the Royal College of Surgeons. Although the species supposedly represented had been named by Smith Woodward and Dawson, Keith renamed it on that occasion Homo piltdownensis, to the wrath of Bather [1923] without delay, Keith started writing a book on Piltdown which expanded into The Antiquity of Man eleven chapters and 218 pp [43%)] of which are devoted to Piltdown. Far from taking a secondary role and gaining less from Piltdown than Smith Woodward, within the first two years Keith had virtually taken over the Piltdown "discovery"; his career made a quantum leap forward, and he gained more from Piltdown than did Smith Woodward or anyone else.

9. Circumstantial evidence and convincing proof. That Keith is the most likely suspect is agreed by Fedele Harrold, Rolland, Stringer, and Trigger. Fedele and Runnels suggest alternative scenarios in which Keith's guilt is reduced, but this leaves open the identity of some other accomplice. Grigson tries to take the heat off Keith by reminding us of the new study of Piltdown which he made in 1938-39, after the discovery of the Swanscombe calvaria. She is wrong in claiming that Keith's restudy has been ignored: Spencer (1990a :127) has dealt with it and its implications at some length. The behind her rhetorical question [''Would he have bothered . . .") escapes me. We know that Keith repeatedly reappraised Piltdown - in 1913, 1914, 1915, 1925, 1931, 1938-39, 1948 – over three and a half decades. This has no bearing on whether or not he was the nester hoaxer: if he was, he sustained his love for his illegitimate child for over 25 years and therewith continued to promote its authenticity; if he was not, he remained "taken in" for 25 years. Harrison airily dismisses the whole case as "flimsy evidence" and adds 'particularly when he cannot answer back." This plea for fair play looks like an argument against all historical analysis of dead persons and their supposed misdeeds. It is an unacceptable notion, though objectivity should always be a yardstick in such analyses.

Nickels argues that this forgery would have been attempted only by a truly desperate man. I suggest that it was attempted by one who was utterly frustrated by non-recognition by the body from which he craved it and, as Grigson says, refused to accept anything that interfered with his view. Runnels avers that the evidence against Keith is more circumstantial than that against Dawson. But I do not think that the strength of the case against Dawson (on which most agree) is a good reason to reject the second-best case, that against Keith, as Dawson's scientist-accomplice.

I quite agree with commentators who feel that the evidence is "not conclusive": all Langham and Spencer and I have claimed is that, of all the proposals made as to the identity of Dawson's postulated accomplice, the Langham-Spencer hypothesis inculpating Keith is supported by the greatest body of evidence. The lines of evidence cover more aspects than have been adduced for any other suspect, namely, events, motives, character, skilled knowledge, access, and opportunity. As Chippindale asks: does a decisive proof exist? Short of an (unforged) signed confession, we may never have "a better class of answer" or an absolutely final solution. In that event, we either suspend judgment altogether or we accept the balance of probabilities and the solution for which the most substantial case has been adduced. To accept the strongest case is not (contra Kennedy) to betray "self-satisfaction" at "the fall of the mighty." I have held the name and scientific work of Keith in high esteem, at least since 1955, when I attended his funeral at Downe and first read his autobiography, and I was horrified when Langham first divulged some of the case against Keith in 1984. The sense of shock is reflected in my introduction to Spencer's (1990a ) book. There is no cause for gratification when the reputations of erstwhile heroes crumble.

10. Other suspects. Some commentators accept the case against Keith as Dawson's accomplice; some do not think Dawson needed one, some do not commit themselves, and some reopen the files on other suspects. The latter include Barlow and "a bunch of jokers at the BMNH" (Grigson), Hinton (Kennedy), Elliot Smith, perhaps in league with Teilhard (Chamberlain), and Mrs. Dawson or some other female member(s) of the Piltdown circle (Dennell). With two possible exceptions, [290] however, none of these advocates brings forward any new evidence. Grigson receives more reports on the inveterate practical joking of Barlow, Bishop, and Wray at the museum. Chamberlain reminds us that Elliot Smith and Teilhard were both in Egypt from 1905 to 1908. Is this relevant? Perhaps he will develop the theme. Dennell suggests widening the circle of suspects to include the Piltdown women, who have indeed been largely overlooked hitherto. His interpretation that their absence from the list of suspects in my article is due to prejudice is misplaced. Having spent 45 years of my life opposing prejudice, I assure him that their absence from the list is because of lack of evidence to date. Lady Celia Keith, Lady Maude Woodward, Mabel Kenward, Helene Dawson. Gladys Postlethwaite, Rhoda de Terra, Margaret Hodgson, Dulcie Pearson, and many other women feature in Spencer's two books. It would be most useful if Dennell would undertake a study of the Piltdown women.

A few commentators point out that I do not devote as much attention to other suspects as to Keith and Teilhard. Quite true: I accept the case against Dawson despite Costello's (1985) attempt to exonerate him; my main purpose was to put the magnifying glass on the case against Keith. The only other case that has been systematically and strongly developed is that against Teilhard, and, as my studies revealed evidence weakening Gould's case against him, I felt it important to put this on record. Stringer comments that I give Teilhard but not Keith the benefit of the doubt over confused memories in old age. The difference is that the main burden of Gould's case against Teilhard rests on such memories, whereas the strongest evidence against Keith lies in contemporary events including diary entries and The Antiquity of Man and only finds support in the old-age memories. In any event, my analysis of the supposed confusion between Piltdown II and the "second site" revealed that Teilhard's memory was correct on the approximate date of his visit to the "second site." The only misunderstanding was that, when Oakley requested information about the "second site" (meaning Piltdown II or ?Sheffield Park), Teilhard answered about the historical second site (meaning Barcombe Mills). This effectively obviates the need to resort to aging confusion in respect of Teilhard.

11. How competent was Keith? Keith's enormous breadth is evident from The Antiquity of Man and his voluminous other writings. It seems to have been a common belief up to now that his knowledge, judgment, and competence were superlative. A few commentators have raised doubts. Grigson asserts that Keith had very little knowledge of archaeology (fortunately, Dawson had had experience in this). If Keith did it, the mistaken choice of a probably pathological calvaria, under the stated impression that it was normal, betrays another chink in his armour. Even Keith's anatomy has proved questionable, although this was his main field. For instance, the errors he made over the midline of the Piltdown calvaria and the frontomalar suture (Sollas 1924) may be matched by those he made on the mandibular fossa of the Galley Hill skull. In a recent letter, Ashley Montagu, who knew and admired Keith in London, writes (personal communication, November 22, 1991),

There are some things I cannot understand about Keith. How could anyone have been so wrong in describing the anatomy of the Galley Hill skull, as he was in The Antiquity of Man ? If anyone of my students had made such a mess he would have been thoroughly ploughed [failed]. Could some of these so-called anatomists have really been as ignorant as they appear to have been about the subject which they were supposed to teach?

12. Last words (Keith) . A letter that Keith wrote to Ashley Montagu on September 19, 1954, after the exposure of the hoax, is revealing. It deals with many of the present themes–the "honest manner" of Dawson, Keith's consciousness that "fame is the spur," the role of the ape jaw, the skill of the forgery. I reproduce it here with Montagu's permission:

Downe, Farnboro Kent

Sept 19 1954

Dear Ashley. You know I entered the Piltdown Discussion as a critic–but so compelling was the honesty of Dawson's manner of speech that not a single soul of us, doubted his word, those who solved the Piltdown problem are of a generation who never fell under the spell cast on all by the living Dawson– and the discovery of methods of detection of the antiquity of fossils. Yet I have now no doubt that he was the author of all the fraud. And you will ask– what could have been his motive? If you knew the wonderful fame won by Schoetensack in 1907 by the discovery of the Heidelberg jaw–you would realise the fame waiting for the discoverer of a skull of that early date. [you would understand Dawson's motive. (passage deleted in original [AM])] And to make his discovery certain–a Simian jaw was added to prove the antiquity of his find. All plotted and carried out with his faithful friends looking on–very skilfully done. But there are features of the skull which still await an explanation. The injury done is to humanity rather than to anthropology.

Yours sincerely

Arthur Keith

Was this Keith's last word on Piltdown?




ADELOYE, A., Ic. R. KATTAN, AND F. N. SILVERMAN. 1975. Thickness of the normal skull in American blacks and whites. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 1-30.

AUDLEY, R. J., AND R. E. RAWLES. 1990. On a defence of Professor Cyril Burt. The Psychologist August, , pp. 360-61. [PG]

MAKER, A. W. 1925. Science and the skull. Rand Daily Mail [Johannesburg], March 2.

BARBOUR, G. B. 1956. Memorial to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, [291] S.J. ]1881-1955],. Proceedings Volume of the Geological Society of America , pp. .I69-76.

BARTHOLOMEW, G. A., AND T. B. BIRDSBLL. 1953. Ecology and the protohominids. American Anthropologist 55:481-98. |NR|

BATHER, F. A. 19I3. [Letter to editor on name of Piltdown species.| The Times {London!, August 13.

BELOFF, H. Editor. 1980. A balance sheet on Burt. Bulletin of the British Psychological Society 33, suppl. [PGj

BLINDERMAN, C. 1986. The Piltdown inquest . Buffalo: Prometheus Books.

BORDES, F. 1953. Essai de classificanon des industnes "moustenennes." Bulletin de la Societe Prehistorique Pran,caise 50:457-66.[NR|

–.1958. "Le passage du Paleolithique moyen au Paleolithique superieur," in Hundert Jahre Neandertaler. Edited by G. H. R. von Koenigswald, pp. 175-8I.

–.1959. Le contexte archeologiques des hommes du Moustier et de Spy. L'Anthropologie 63:I54-57.[NR]

BOULE, M. I 9 2 I. Les hommes fossiles. Pans: Masson.

–.1923. Fossil men: Elements of human palaeontology. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd.

BOULE, M., AND H. V. VALLOIS. 1952. Les hommes fossiles. Paris: Mouton. [NR|

BOWDEN, M. 1977. Ape-men: Fact or fallacy? ' Bromley, Kent: Sovereign Publications.

BOWLER, P. T. 1986. Theories of human evolution: A century of debate 1844-1944. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press/Oxford: Basil Blackwell [PJB]

–.1989. The invention of progress: The Victorians and the past. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. [PJB]

–.199I. Review of: Piltdown: A scientific forgery, by F. Spencer {New York: Natural History Museum Publications and Oxford University Press, 19901. Annals of Science 48: 405-6.

BRITTEN, R. J. .1989. Comment on a cnticism of DNA hybridsation measurements. Journal of Human Evolution 18:I63- 64. |PG|

BROAD, W., AND N. WADE. 1982. Betrayers of the truth: Fraud and deceit in the halls of science. New York: Simon and Schuster.

BRONOWSKI, T. I95I. The common sense of science. London: William Heinemann.

BROOM, R., AND G. W. H. SCHEPERS. 1946. The South Afncar fossil ape-men, the Australopithecinae. Transvaal Museum Memoirs 2.

CALDER, WILLIAM M., III.I972. Schliemann on Schliemann: A study in the use of sources. Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 13:335-53-[FGF|

CAMPBELL, B. I99I. The Piltdown forgery: Pursuit of the perp trator. CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY 32:~217-18.

CHIPPINDALE, C. 1990. Piltdown: Who dunit? Who cares? Science 250:1162-63..

CLARK, W. E. LE GROS. 1950. New palaeontological evidence bearing on the evolution of the Hominoidea. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 105:225-64.

–.1968. Chant of pleasant exploration . Edinburgh and Lon don: E. and S. Livingstone.

COLE, 5. 1975. Leakey's luck: The life of Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey, 1903-1972. London: Collins.

COSTELLO, P. 1985. The Piltdown hoax reconsidered. Antiquity 59:167-7I.

DANIEL, G. E. 1985. |Editorial note to The Piltdown hoax reconsidered, by P. Costello.] Antiquity 59:167.

DART, R. A. 1925. Australopithecus afncanus: The man-ape of South Africa. Nature 115:195-99.

– Editor. 1954. Africa's place in the human story .Johannesburg:: South African Broadcaster Corporation.

DAVIS, J. B. 1867. Thesaurus craniorum. London: Taylor and Francis.

DAWSON, C. I9I2. On the persistence of a 13th dorsal vertebra. in certain human races. MS, Natural History Museum, London.

–.1915. The Piltdown skull: Eoanthropus dawsoni. Hastings and East Sussex Naturalist 4:182–84.

DAWSON, C., AND A. 5. WOODWARD. 1913. On the discovery of a Palaeolithic human skull and mandible in a flint-bearing gravel overlying the Wealden (Hastings Beds) at Piltdown, Fletching (Sussex). Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 69:117-51.

DESMOND, ADRIAN. 1989. The politics of evolution: Morphology, medicine, and reform in radical London. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [BGT]

DODSON, E. O. 1981. [Letter on "The Piltdown conspiracy." | Natural History 90:16-2I.

EASTON, DONALD F. 1984. Schliemann's mendacity–a false trail? Antiquity 58:197-204 .[FGF|

EISELEY. L. C. 1956. Review of: The Piltdown forgery, by J.S. Weiner (London: Oxford University Press,1955] . American Journal of Physical Anthropology I4:124-26.

ELLIOT SMITH, G 1912. The evolution of man. Presidential address to the Anthropological Section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Dundee, September.

–.1927. zd edition. The evolution of man. London: Oxford University Press.

ELLIOT SMITH, G., AND J. I. HUNTER. 1972. New reconstruction of the Piltdown skull. Nature 109: 726.

EVE, RAYMOND A., AND FRANCIS B. HARROLD. 1990. The creationist movement in modern America. Boston: Twayne. [[FBH]

FEDELE, FRANCESCO G. 1985. "Nicolucci e Schliemann," in Giustiniano Nicolucci: Alle origini dell’antropologia moderna. Edited by F. G. Fedele, pp. 123-64. Isola de Liri: Editrice Pisani. |FGF|

FIELD, H. 1953. The track of man: Adventures of an anthropologist. New York: Doubleday.

FINDLAY, G.1972. Dr. Robert Broom, palaeontologist and physician, 1866-1951. Cape Town: A. A. Balkema.

FLETCHER, R. 1987. The doubtful case of Cyril Burt. Social Policy and Administration 21[1]:140-53 [PG]

FRASETTO, F. 1927. New views on the "dawn man" of Piltdown (Sussex). Man 27:121-24.

FRIEDERICHS, H. F. 1932. Schadel und Unterhefer von Piltdown ("Eoanthropus dawsoni Woodward") in neuer Untersuchung. Zeitschnf t fur Anatomie und Entwicklungsgeschuchte 98:199-266..

GILLIE, O. 1976. Crucial data was faked by eminent psychologist. Sunday Times, October 24. [PG]

GISH, DUANE T. 1985. Evolution: The challenge of the fossil record. E1 Cajon, Calif.: Creation-Life Publishers.[FBH]

GOULD, 5. J. 1980. The Piltdown conspiracy. Natural History 89 8-28.

–1981. Piltdown in letters. Natural History 90:75 - 30.

–1983. Hens' teeth and horses' toes. Harmondsworth: Penguin. [PG|

GREGORY, W. K. 1914. The dawn-man of Piltdown, England. American Museum Journal 14:189-200.

– 1930. The origin of man from a brachiating anthropoid. Science 71:6455-50.. [FGF|

GRIGSON, C. 1990a. Missing links in the Piltdown fraud. New Scientist 125:55-58.

– 1900b.. Putting the pieces together (Review of: Piltdown: A scientific forgery and The Piltdown papers, by F. Spencer [London and New York: Natural History Museum Publications and Oxford University Press, 1990]. Times Literary Supplement, December 14-20..

–199I. Sir Arthur Keith and the Piltdown forgery. Times Literary Supplement, February I. [CC, CG]

HALSTEAD, L. B . 1978. New light on the Piltdown hoax? Nature 276 11 - 13.

–1979. The Piltdown hoax: Cui bono? Nature 277 596.

HAMMOND, MICHAEL. 1979. A framework of plausibility for an

anthropological forgery. Anthropology 3:47-58. [FGF|

HEARNSHAW, L. S. 1990. The Burt affair: A rejoinder. The Psychologist, February, pp. 61-64. [PG]

HEILBORN, A. Editor. 1923. Hermann Klaatsch's The evolution [292] and

progress of mankind. Translated by J. McCabe. London: T. Fisher Unwin.

HOOTON, E. A. 1946 .2zd edition. Up from the ape. New York: Macmillan.

HOWELLS, W. 1967. Mankind in the making. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

–1985. "Taung: A mirror for American anthropology," in Hominid evolution

Past, present, and future. Edited by P. V. Tobias, pp. 19-24. New York: Alan

R. Liss. [FGl

HRDLICKA, A. 1930. The skeletal remains of early man. Smithsonian

Miscellaneous Collections 83:1–379.

JONES, M. Editor. 1990. Fake? The art of deception. London: British Museum


JOYNSON, R. B. 1989. The Burt affair. London: Routledge. [PG]

KEATING, T., G. NORMAN, AND F. NORMAN. The fake’s progress. London:

Hutchinson. [PG]

[KEITH, A.| 1912a . Discovery of a new type of fossil man. British Medical

Journal, December 21, pp. 1719-20.

[–] 1912b . The discovery of ancient man in Sussex. British Medical Journal,

December 28, pp.. 1762-64. ]RVSW]

[–] Piltdown: Where the most ancient skull in the world was found. The Sphere,

January 18, p. 76. [RSW]

KEITH, A. 19I 5. The antiquity oi man. London: Williams and Norgate.

–1925. 2nd edition. The antiquity of man. London: Williams and Norgate.

–New discoveries relating to the antiquity of man. London: Williams and


–1938-29. A resurvey of the anatomical features of the Piltdown skull with some

observations on the recently discovered Swanscombe skull. Journal of Anatomy

73:155-85, 234–54. [CG, CB5|

–1947. Australopithecines or Dartians. Nature 159:377.

–1948. A new theory of human evolution. London: Watts.

– 1950. An autobiography. London: Watts/New York: Philosophical Library.

KENNEDY, K. A. R. 1991. Review of: Piltdown: A scientific forgery, by F. Spencer [London and New York: Natural History Museum Publications and Oxford University Press, ]. American Journal of Human Biology 3:308-10. [KARK]

KOHN, A. 1986. False prophets: Fraud and enror in smence and medicine. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

KUHN, T.S. 1962. The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

LANGDON, J. H. 1991. Misinterpreting Piltdown. Current Anthropology 32:627-31.

LANGHAM, 1. 1978. Talgai and Piltdown: The common context. Artefact 3:181-224.

– 1979. The Piltdown hoax. Nature 77:170.

LEAKEY, L. S. B., AND A. M. GOODALL. 1969. Unveil¹ng man's origins. London: Methuen.

LE DOUBLE, A. F.1912.. Traite de vanations de la colonne vertebrale de l'homme. Paris: Vigot Freres.

LEWIN, R. 1988a. Conflict over DNA clock result. Science 241:1598-1600. [PG]

–1989. Bones of contention: Controversies in the search for human origins.

London: Penguin Books. [FGFI


Piltdown jaw confirmed as orang. Nature 299:294.

LUKAS, M.1981a. A playful prank gone too far? or a deliberate scientific forgery? America 144:424-27.

– Gould and Teilhard's "fatal error." Teilhard Newsletter 14:4-6.

MARSTON, A. T. 1936. Chimpanzee or man? The Piltdown canine tooth and mandible versus the human specific characteristics of the straight canine and the fused alveolar-maxillo-preaxillary suture. British Dental Journal , pp. 216-21.

MARX, KARL, AND FREDERICK ENGELS. 1962 Selected works in two volumes. Vol . 2. Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House. [ BGT |

MATTHEWS, L. H 1981. Piltdown man: The missing links. New Scientist

90:280-82, 376, 515-16, 578-79, 647-48, 710-11, 785, 861-62; 91:26-28.

MEDAWAR, P. 1963. Is the scientific paper a fraud? The Listener, September I2, pp. 377-78. [PG|

MILES, A. E. W. 1991. Review of: Piltdown: A scientific forgery, by F. Spencer (London and New York: Natural History Museum Publications and Oxford University Press, 1990 Journal of Osteoarchaeology I. [CG|

MILLAR, R. 1972. The Piltdown men: A case of archaeological fraud. London: Paladin.

MILLER, G. S. I9I5. The jaw of Piltdown man. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 65(12):1-3I.

– 1918. The Piltdown jaw. American Journal of Physical Anthropology : 1:25-51.

MONTAGU, M. F. A. I95Ia. The Piltdown mandible and cranium. American 1ournal of Physical Anthropology 9:464-70.

–. 1951b. The Barcombe Mills cranial remains. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 9:417–26.

NIEDERLAND, W. G . 1967. Psychoanalytic profile of a creative mind: Eros and Thanatos in the life of Heinnch Schliemann. Psychotherapy and Psychosomahcs 15:202-219 [FGF]

OAKLEY, KENNETH P. 1957. Tools makyth man. Antiquity 31:199-209. . [BGT|

–1960. Comment on: Artificial thickening of bone and tbe Piltdown skull, by A. Montagu. Nature 187:I74.

–. 1966. "Introduction," in The human skull: A cultural history, by F. Henschen. London: Thames and Hudson.

–1971. "British Isles entries," in Catalogue of fossil hominids, pt. 2 Europe. Edited by K. P. Oakley, B. G. Campbell and T. 1. Molleson. London: British Museum of Natural History.

– 1979. Suspicions about Piltdown man. New Scientist 83:1014

– 1980. Relative dating of the fossil hominids of Europe. Bulletin of the Bntish Museum (Natural History ). Geology Series. 34[I]:1-63. [KARK]

OSBORN, H. F. 1921. The dawn man of Piltdown, Sussex. Natural History (New York) 21:577-90.

PARTY FOR WORKERS' POWER. 1973. Racism, intelligence, and the working class. London. [PGI

PIVETEAU, J. 197l. "Une decouverte de A. Debenath," in Origine de l’homme moderne. Edited by F. Bordes, p. 57. Paris: UNESCO. [NR|

POULIANOS, A. N. 197I. "Quelques caracteres sapiens du crane de Petralona," in Origine de l'homme moderne. Edited by F. Bordes, p. 55. Paris: UNESCO. [NRI

RAM STROM, 1919. . Der Piltdown-Fund. Bulletin of the Geological Institute (Uppsala) 16:261-304..

REED, CHARLES A. 1983. 'A short history of the discovery and early study of the australopithecines: The first find to the death of Robert Broom (1924-1951)," in Hominid origins: Inquiries past and present. Edited by Kathleen J. Reichs, pp. 1-77. New York: University Press of America. [FGF|

Science. 1991. Scholars flock to a proliferation of fraud conferences. 151-507.

SHATTOCK, S. G 1914. "Morbid thickening of the calvaria, and the reconstruction of bone once abnormal: A pathological basis for the study of the thickening observed in certain Pleistocene crania." XXVIIth International congress of Medicine, London , July, 1913. Section VII. pp.

SHIPMAN, P. 1990. On the trail of the Piltdown fraudsters. New Scientist 128:52-54.

SIMPSON, G. G. 1945. The principles of classification and a classification of mammals. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 85:1-350.

SMITH, J. 199l. Preventing fraud. British Medical Journal 302:362-63. [ATC]

SMITH, LORD, OF MARLOW. 1990. Preposterous thesis. The Sunday Times

(London), September 30, p. 3-10.

SOLLAS, W.J. 1924. 3d edition. Ancient hunters and their modern representatives. London: Macmillan.

SPENCER, F. 1979. Ales Hrdlicka, M.D., 1869-I943. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International.

[293] – 1990a . Piltdown: A scientific forgery. London and New York: Natural History Museum Publications and Oxford University Press..

–1990b. The Piltdown papers. London and New York: Natural History Museum Publications and Oxford University Press.

– The Piltdown mystery: An exchange. New York Review of Books, January 17, p. 58.

The Piltdown forgery. Times Literary Supplement, January 18, p. 13.

Piltdown remains [letter |. American Scientist 79: 388.

STENT,G. 1972. Prematurity and uniqueness in scientific discovery. Scientific American 227:84-93

STRINGER, C.B. 1990. The Piltdown conman. The Guardian, June 11. [CBS|

TAPPEN, N.C. 1953. . A mechanistic theory of human evolution. American Anthropologist 55:605-7. [NCT]

TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, P. 1953. The idea of fossil man," in Anthropology today. Edited by S. Tax, pp. 31-38. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [NR|

Editiones du Seuil. [NR]

THOMSON, K. S. 1991a. Piltdown man: The great English mystery story. American Scientist 79:194-201. [KARK, MKN, CBS|

–1991b. Piltdown remains [letter |. American Scientist 79: 388. [NT|

TOBIA5, P.V. 1954. "The very ancient human inhabitants of Afnca," in Afnca's place in the human story . Edited by R. A. Dart. Johannesburg: South African Broadcasting Corporation.

und Menschheit Leigzig, Urania, pp. 34-45

1974. The Taung skull revisited. Natural History 82[10]:38-43.

University Press.

–. 1985. "The former Taung cave system in the light of contemporary reports and

its bearing on the skull's provenance: Early deterrents to the acceptance of

Australopithecus," in Hominid evolahon: Past, present, and future. Edited by

P.V. Tobias. New York: Alan R. Liss.

1989. "The status of Homo habilis in 1987 and some outseanding problems," in Homiudae. Edited by G. Giacobini, pp. 141-149. Milan: Jaca Book

–. 1990."lntroduction to a forgery," in Piltdown: A scienufic forgery, by Frank Spencer, pp. viu-xii. London: Natural History Museum Publications and Oxford University Press.

–1991a Olduvai Gorge. Vols. 4A and 4B. The skulls, endocasts, and teeth of

Homo habilis. Cambridge: Cambndge University Press.

–The species Homo habilis: Example of a premature discovery. Acta Zoologica

Fennica. In press.

TRAILL, DAVID A. 1983. Schliemann's discovery of "Pram's Treasure." Antiquity 57:181-86. [FGFI

TRIGGER, BRUCE G. 1967. Engels on the pare played by labour in the transition from ape to man: An anticipation of contemporary anthropological theory. Canadzan Renew of Somology and Anthropology 4:165 -76. [BGT]

UNDERWOOD, A.S. 19I3. The Piltdown skull. British Dental Journal 56:650-52.

VALLOIS, H. V. AND H. L. MOVIUS. 1952. Catalogue des hommes fossiies. XiX' Congres Geologique Intemational, Alger.

VAN ESBROECK, G. I972. Pleine lumiere sur l'imposture de Piltdown. Paris: Les Editions du Cedre.

VERE, F. 1955. The Piltdown fantasy. London: Cassell.

1959. Lessons of Piltdown . London: Evolution Protest Movement.

VON KOENICSWALD, G. H. R. 198I. [Letter on "The Piltdown conspiracy."] Natural History 90::21-25.

WADE, N. 1990 . New light on an old fraud. New York Times November I I. [KARK|

WASHBURN, S. L. 1985. "Human evolution after Raymond Dart," in Hominid evolution: Past, present, and future. Edited by P. V. Tobias, pp. 3-18. New York: Alan E. Liss.

WATERSTON, D. 1913. The Piltdown mandible. Nature 92:319.

WEIDENREICH, F. 1943. Skull of Sinanthropus pekinensis: A comparative study on a primitive hominid. Palaeontologia Simica 10:1-298.

WEINER, J. S. 1955. The Piltdown forgery. London: Oxford University Press.

WEINER, J. 5., K. P. OAKLEY, AND W. E. LE GROS CLARK. 1953. The solution to the Piltdown problem. Bulletin of the British Museum of Natural History (Geology) 2:141-46.

the British Museum of Natural History (Geology) 2:225-87.

WEINERT, H. 195l. Stammesentwicklung der Menschheit. Braunschweig: Friedr. Vieweg.

WILSON, DAVTD. 1990. "Preface," in Fake? The art of deception. Edited by M. Jones. London: British Museum Publications.

WINSLOW, J.. H., AND A. MEYER. 1983. The perpetrator of Piltdown. Science 83:32--43.

VOO, J. K. 1962. The mandible and dentition of Gigantopithecus. Palaeontologia Sinic 11:1-94.

WOODWARD, A. S. 1933. Early man and the associated faunas of the Old World. Science 78:89-92.

WOODWARD, A. S. 1948. The earliest Englishman. London: Watts.

Z:UCKERMAN, S. 1970. Beyond the ivory tower . London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

– 1990. A phony ancestor. New York Review of Books, November 8, pp. 12-16.

–1991. The Piltdown mystery: An exchange. New York Review of Books, January 17, pp. 58-59.








Back to the

Back to the

Back to