Sunday, 25 August 2013

UNRAVELLING PILTDOWN – John Evangelist Walsh, 1996

One of my favourite types of book is the sort which involves a real-life conundrum, solving a mystery by uncovering (or unravelling) information until the answer is seen to have been staring at you all the time
The Piltdown man fraud of the early twentieth century still gets scientific knickers in a twist, but the reason it worked so effectively is because so many people wanted to believe it.
Walsh gives the historical context and details how it was perpetrated. When he points out how the skull fragments were found (i.e. explicitly where and under what circumstances) it becomes difficult to see why the myth was not exploded sooner.

I don’t know much about fossils or anthropology, so I learnt a lot from reading this. It is a book I will return to again, I am sure.

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