It was a hoax that fooled some of the most eminent minds and has remained unsolved for 100 years. Now scientists believe they can finally put to rest the mystery of how one of the most famous scientific frauds in history was orchestrated and who was responsible for creating the fake remains of a human ancestor known as Piltdown man.
The bones, discovered in a gravel pit in Piltdown, East Sussex, in 1912 alongside animal fossils and stone tools, were celebrated as a missing link in the evolution between apes and humans that lived around 500,000 years ago. It was nearly 50 years before it was exposed as a fake, while the perpetrators, and their motives, have remained unknown ever since. However, archaeologists, palaeontologists and anthropologists are this week holding a special meeting at the Geological Society in London to discuss the results of the latest investigation into the hoax aimed at finally answering the outstanding questions.