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Arthur Smith Woodward and his involvement in the study of human evolution

By
Christopher Dean
Christopher Dean
1
Cell and Developmental Biology, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
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Isabelle De Groote
Isabelle De Groote
2
Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology, School of Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF, UK
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Chris Stringer
Chris Stringer
3
Human Origins Research Group, Earth Sciences Department, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK
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Published:
January 01, 2016

Abstract

In 1884, Arthur Smith Woodward first met Charles Dawson, a solicitor and industrious amateur collector, antiquarian, geologist, archaeologist and palaeontologist. This began a long association and friendship centred on their mutual interest in palaeontology and human evolution. Dawson devised a complicated plot focused around the ancient river gravel deposits at Barkham Manor near the village of Piltdown, Sussex. In these gravels he planted stone tools and fossil mammal remains together with the lower jaw of an ape and numerous modern human cranial bones to deceive the scientific establishment into believing an early human ancestor had been found in his own back yard. Cleverly devised to provide anatomists and archaeologists with evidence for concepts that they wanted to believe were true, Dawson fuelled numerous contentious debates among scientists that quickly attracted international attention. Nothing could be more unfortunate than such a respectable scientist as Arthur Smith Woodward being taken in by the events of 1912, and then subsequently swept along by them well into his retirement right up to the time of his death in 1944.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Arthur Smith Woodward: His Life and Influence on Modern Vertebrate Palaeontology

Z. Johanson
Z. Johanson
Natural History Museum, UK
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P. M. Barrett
P. M. Barrett
Natural History Museum, UK
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M. Richter
M. Richter
Natural History Museum, UK
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M. Smith
M. Smith
Natural History Museum, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
430
ISBN electronic:
9781862399624
Publication date:
January 01, 2016

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