Piltdown Man - the greatest hoax in the history of science?

In 1912 Piltdown Man hit the headlines. Evidence of the evolutionary 'missing link' between apes and humans had been found, in England. For the next 40 years this momentous discovery influenced research into human evolution. 

Then in 1953 Piltdown hit the headlines again, this time revealed as a hoax, a scientific fraud of shocking proportions. Who did it and why? Follow the story so far.

  • Watercolour sketch by Charles Dawson of a section through the Piltdown gravel bed
    Discoveries at Piltdown

    At the time of Piltdown Man’s discovery, very few early human fossils had been found and none on English soil. Find out how the sensational story started.

  • Prelimary fluorine test for the Piltdown remains in 1949
    Piltdown hoax revealed

    As mounting evidence began to make Piltdown Man look suspect, 3 leading scientists tested the fossils. Their surprising results had major implications.

  • Charles Dawson (left) and Dr A Smith Woodward (right) searching for the Piltdown specimens
    Piltdown suspects

    100 years after the initial discoveries and 60 years since they were revealed as fakes, we still don't know who did it and why. Meet the key suspects.   

  • Human skull fragments discovered at Piltdown in Sussex
    Piltdown fossils

    Examine the fossil evidence that initially propelled Piltdown to fame, and then later to infamy.

  • Geologists' Association party visiting the pit at Piltdown, Sussex, on 12 July 1913
    Piltdown timeline

    Uncover the key events in the story of Piltdown Man, from the original discoveries through to the revelation of the hoax.