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The Piltdown Man

QUESTION: How long was the Piltdown man hoax taught in our schools?


The Piltdown man hoax prevailed from 1912, when the “discovery” was first made public, until 1953 when it was finally proven to be a fraud. Due to a number of factors including the number of textbooks in circulation during the 40 years of the Piltdown man’s general acceptance, the amount of time it takes for some textbooks to catch up with current research, and the overall lack of research on this matter, it is unknown how long the Piltdown man hoax was taught in public schools.

(A version of Ernst Haeckel’s infamous embryonic recapitulation pictures is still used in textbooks today as evidence for Darwinism, well over a century after it was shown to be a fraud by Haeckel’s peers.)

What we do know is that for at least 40 years, most of the professionals who do the research that ends up in the textbooks believed that the Piltdown man demonstrated human descent from an ape-like ancestor. Who knows how long this mistake was perpetuated upon impressionable minds?

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