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Re: Beautifully horrible



At 10:00 AM 7/22/98 -0700, Randy King wrote:
>This may not be quite what was intended, but my vote for the
>most horrible skull would be Piltdown man.  There is nothing
>like this kind of fraud to give science a black eye.  

What was so horrible about it?  Certain claims to the contrary
notwithstanding, it was not universally accepted as a valid taxon: the skull
was suspected as being a chimera by some workers from the start.  More
importantly, the discovery of the Recent age of the specimen was a triumph
for modern (for 1950s) techniques of geochemical dating, and thus science at
is best (as a method of testing hypotheses of the physical world).

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:th81@umail.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661