Piltdown man fluorine dating,
Darwin had even sketched such a type hypothetically. In those days the climate of scientific opinion was extremely favour-able to the view that the human ancestor would show such a combination of features of ape and man. But this view was dealt a severe blow when the remains of a second Piltdown Man were reported in as coming from a place about two miles away from the first site.
Miller in America and Prof. Woodward gave many good reasons why he thought that the jaw must belong to the brain-case even though, as he pointed out, it was very like an ape's, while the brain-case was certainly very human. In July a new specimen was found, a canine tooth, ape-like, but worn in a way never found in modern apes.
They could not explain the extraordinary wear of the teeth. As a result more specimens were found including a fragment of ape-like jawbone with two teeth, still more bits of skull, several fossil animal teeth and bones, several flint tools-and later on a remarkable bone implement. The amount of fluorine present in the fossils should match if they were deposited at the same time. They were both of a similar brown color, and also apparently in the same state of fossilisation.
They maintained that there were two different fossils there, a fossil man, and a fossil ape, both of an extreme antiquity.
With the advent of a new dating technique - the Fluorine Absorption Test, the ageing of the finds was proposed. Despite this extraordinary combination we must agree about the logic of his conclusion based on the evidence available to him. But there were difficulties. But they decided it was a coincidence, astonishing though it seemed.
The forgery was very skilled and the find was not questioned by the paleontology community. Boule in France-were not convinced. Piltdown man had a large cranial space, a simian jaw but humanoid teeth. A number of factors contributed; The scientists involved were respected individuals in their fields.
The cranial fragments had a much greater fluorine content than that of the jaw and therefore could not be from the same person.
From now on Woodward's ideas held the field and most scientists agreed with. But the opposition case was a good deal weaker than Woodward's. The Fluorine Absorption Test Teeth and bones will absorb fluorine from their environment, when this happens the fluorine reacts with phosphate hydroxy-apatite the main component of teeth and bones to form fluorapatite.
They could not see how anatomically the jaw could have worked as part of a human skull when it was constructed in so very different a way. But he began to fit in less and less well as a lot more human fossils were found in Java and China and South Africa. The molar teeth had apparently been worn to a flatness never seen in apes, and only to be expected if the jaw had belonged to a type of human being.
Radiocarbon dating put a final date on the skulls, confirming that they were mediaeval in origin.
The other finds were genuine. Woodward's argument ran as follows. Britain was largely ignored until in Charles Dawson found pieces of a skull in a quarry in Piltdown; it was thought to be that of an ancient Pleistocene hominid. They formed a fairly consistent line of evolution if Piltdown Man was left out.