Piltdown Man skull 1912 (fraud).
This skull is a replica of Dawson's so-called "Dawn Man," which had been unearthed in a gravel pit at Piltdown near Sussex, England, by Charles Dawson in 1912. The find consisted of a modern appearing cranium, with a modern sized brain, combined with a primitive apelike jaw, and was found near the teeth of extinct animals dated at 5 million years old. For 40 years the skull bones of "Dawn Man" were considered genuine and hindered understanding of human evolution by supporting the biased view that a large brain led the evolutionary way toward modern humans. By 1953, the application of fluorine analysis and the work of two anatomists and an archaeologist exposed Piltdown Man as a hoax. The "find" turned out to be a modern appearing human cranium and the mandible of a modern orangutan, buried along with the bones of the extinct animals. Unfortunately, this hoax misdirected anthropologists for some time, contributing to the original rejection of the Taung Child (which had a jaw of human-like features and an ape-sized brain, a reversal of the pattern observed in English Piltdown Man), and also suggesting that pre-sapiens existed in Europe, a view which has since been discredited. The black portions of the skull indicate the "original" find. The rest is a recreation commissioned by Bone Clones® in 2000.