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Boldest Hoax, The

Boldest Hoax, The

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Item Number:
60 min.
Closed Caption:
WGBH Boston Video
Grade Level:
7 - 12
Who Created Piltdown Man-Science's Most Notorious Fraud?

For 40 years, a fossil skull discovered in Piltdown, England, was hailed as the missing link between apes and humans. Then, in 1953, new scientific tests revealed the shocking truth-"Piltdown Man" was a fake!

But who could have perpetrated the hoax? Was it the amateur archaeologist, Charles Dawson, who dug up most of the bones? Or the eminent museum curator, Sir Arthur Smith Woodward of Britain's Natural History Museum, who won fame by presenting the reconstructed skull to an eager public in 1912? Could it even have been Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, who lived near Piltdown?

With more red herrings and false trails than an Agatha Christie whodunit, The Boldest Hoax digs into intriguing new clues from archives at the Natural History Museum, and delves into the skullduggery and national pride that led a handful of faked bones to hoodwink a generation of leading scientists.

Go deep into the archives of Britain's Natural History Museum, where intriguing documents shed new light on this notorious case.

Special DVD features include: materials and activities for educators; a link to the NOVA Web site; scene selections; closed captions; and described video for the visually impaired.

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