Piltdown man and radiocarbon dating

The curatorial histories of collections from localities discovered prior to 1915 were examined in detail (Sherborn 1940, Cleevely 1983, Webby 1989).

Individuals involved in the excavation, cataloguing, curation, or scientific evaluation of materials served as a pool from which those with link in the Piltdown discoveries could be identified.

This is also supported by Weiner et al's (1955) own study of the differential levels of absorption of Uranium in the enamel and cementum of E.597, E.598 and E.620.

Any perpetrator of the Piltdown fraud must, therefore, have had access to a substantial sample of E. africanavus teeth, an unlikely circumstance if the specimens had been purchased through an antiquities dealer.

A more likely source than Ichkeul for the Piltdown specimens would be the radioactive assemblage from the Upper biozone of the Pikermi beds (Theodorou, Karis-teneos and Papadopooulos 1985).

This assemblage apparently represents the same biozone as Bethlehem Early Pliocene fauna (which contains a mixture of Pikermi elements and a primitive elephant provisionally assigned to E. Although many Continental museums had sent workers to collect at Pikermi, there was an absence of comparable material in British museums until the 20th Century.

A Dawson-Woodward nexus is made more plausible by their three decades of regular interaction prior to 1912.

The bulk of the Ghar Dalam material remains in Malta, but comparative collections were sent to Bologna and London, where Arthur Smith Woodward (1894) originally described the assemblage.

The Ghar Dalam paleofauna, the likely source for Hippopotamus premolar planted at Piltdown, was originally described by Woodward in 1894.

The radioactive "Stegodon" molar fragments are plausibly associated with the Upper Biozone at Pikermi where Woodward collected in 1901.

While additional evidence supports the Weiner-Oakley hypothesis (1955) that Charles Dawson was involved in the fraud, it remains difficult to explain his access to the unusual paleontological specimens without a scientific accomplice.

A review of the excavational/curatorial histories of the source localities indicates that Arthur Smith Woodward had both initimate knowledge of access to all of the requisite specimens.

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