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# The tale of Piltdown Man, the most infamous forgery in the

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The tale of Piltdown Man, the most infamous forgery in the  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 19 May 2018, 14:12
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The tale of Piltdown Man, the most infamous forgery in the contentious detective story of the origins of mankind, began in 1912. On December 18 that year Charles Dawson, a well-known amateur British archaeologist, and Arthur Smith Woodward, of the British Museum of Natural History, announced the discovery of some amazing human fossils. The remains comprised nine pieces of skull, a broken jaw with two teeth in place, a few stone tools, and some animal bones, all of which had been discovered on a farm near Piltdown Common in Sussex. When pieced together the skull looked distinctly human. Although Piltdown Man, as the hominid became known, had unusually thick bones, the brain case was large and rounded. There was no sign of prominent brow ridges or other apelike features. However, the shape of the jaw bone resembled that of an ape. The only human characteristic of this jaw was the wear on the two molars, which were ground down flat, as is frequently true of hominids who eat tough or abrasive foods, such as seeds. In other words the creature had the jaw of an ape and the skull of Homo sapiens.

The primitive stone tools found with these remains suggested a remote age for Piltdown Man, perhaps the Early Pleistocene or even the Late Pliocene. (In 1912 experts thought the Pliocene lasted from 1 million to 600 000 years ago. Scientists now date it to between 5 million and 1.7 million years ago.) This date was also supported by some animal bones found with Piltdown Man. To most scientists of the time, Piltdown Man fulfilled a prediction made by the pioneering evolutionist Charles Darwin, who had believed that humans and the apes could be connected genetically through a still undiscovered creature. Most significantly, it was half-human in precisely the feature that was then accepted as the most important difference between humans and the apes - the brain. At this time there was little fossil evidence to contradict the idea that the brain was among the first of the human features to evolve.

As time went on, however, Homo erectus fossils were found in Java and China, while in South Africa the australopithecines were being discovered. All these fossils had human-like jaws and teeth and relatively small brains in contrast to Piltdown Man's large cranium and apelike jaw. The large brain simply did not fit with the rest of the fossil evidence. By 1948 scientists knew that bones buried in the earth gradually absorb fluorine. The older a bone, the more fluorine it contains. When the Piltdown materials were tested for fluorine, the skull and jaw fragments turned out to be much younger than the Early Pleistocene animal bones with which the skull had been found.

Scientists were now very suspicious. In 1953 all the Piltdown material was tested for its authenticity. Not only was the recent age of the jaw and skull confirmed, but the jaw proved to be that of a modern orangutan, with the teeth filed down in a quite obvious manner to imitate wear on human teeth. But the forger had not stopped there. A bone tool found with the remains had been made in recent times with a steel knife, which leaves different marks than does a stone flake or axe. The tools, as well as the animal bones, had been taken from different archaeological sites. Once the forgery was exposed by modem scientific analysis the mystery was no longer where Piltdown Man came in human evolution but who was responsible for the hoax, and why? Although Dawson, the discoverer of most of the Piltdown material, is frequently singled out as the person responsible for this practical joke, there is no definite proof and the question is far from settled.

1. The Piltdown skull seemed distinctly human because it had

I large brain
II thick bones
III brow ridges
A. I only
B. II only
C. III only
D. I and III only
E. I, II and III

2. The scientists of the time made which of the following mistakes

A. believed that fossil discoveries would reveal much about human origins
B. had preconceived ideas about what features an early hominid should have
C. followed the ideas of Darwin in the face of counterevidence
D. incorrectly judged the size of the brain
E. failed to examine other fossil evidence available at the time

3. The animal bones found buried with the Piltdown Man were all of the following except

A. shown to be genuinely Pleistocene
B. more recent than first thought
C. unconnected with the human remains
D. deliberately planted at the site
E. not originally from the Piltdown site

4. It can be inferred that it took so long to expose the forgery because

A. the forger was exceptionally clever making it difficult to detect the alterations
B. reliable techniques for dating rocks did not exist until recently
C. the bones were not subjected to close scrutiny until considerable contradictory evidence accumulated
D. the scientists had no reason to doubt the credibility of the team who made the discovery
E. similar fossils from other archeological sites had proved to be genuine

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Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 19 May 2018, 14:12, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The tale of Piltdown Man, the most infamous forgery in the  [#permalink]

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22 Feb 2017, 07:31
Hi Sajid,

You are doing good job posting RCs from various sources and you need to notice one thing some of your RC posts are not formatted correctly and some information is missing in the passages. If you observe that in this passage itself the last paragraph is incomplete.

Can you give me the official explanation for the question no 3.
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Re: The tale of Piltdown Man, the most infamous forgery in the  [#permalink]

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22 Feb 2017, 07:48
msk0657 wrote:
Hi Sajid,

You are doing good job posting RCs from various sources and you need to notice one thing some of your RC posts are not formatted correctly and some information is missing in the passages. If you observe that in this passage itself the last paragraph is incomplete.

Can you give me the official explanation for the question no 3.

I always try to edit the posts correctly butt failed, maybe there is some problem with GMAT Club formatting system or i am not an expert of such level to edit them correctly
However, i have edited the passage, now it is complete and thanks for mentioning

Regards

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Re: The tale of Piltdown Man, the most infamous forgery in the  [#permalink]

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22 Feb 2017, 23:10
Your passages are really good.. but they are not presented in the form as it would appear on the exam. There are other posts as below which does present the passage and questions side by side correctly. could you please post it in similar way..

https://gmatclub.com/forum/the-work-of- ... 34618.html
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Re: The tale of Piltdown Man, the most infamous forgery in the  [#permalink]

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19 May 2018, 14:13
1
msk0657 wrote:
Hi Sajid,

You are doing good job posting RCs from various sources and you need to notice one thing some of your RC posts are not formatted correctly and some information is missing in the passages. If you observe that in this passage itself the last paragraph is incomplete.

Can you give me the official explanation for the question no 3.

Finally learned Formatting RC after so much time and now Formatted accordingly
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Re: The tale of Piltdown Man, the most infamous forgery in the  [#permalink]

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20 May 2018, 01:48
msk0657 wrote:
Hi Sajid,

You are doing good job posting RCs from various sources and you need to notice one thing some of your RC posts are not formatted correctly and some information is missing in the passages. If you observe that in this passage itself the last paragraph is incomplete.

Can you give me the official explanation for the question no 3.

Finally learned Formatting RC after so much time and now Formatted accordingly

Thank you very much for your effort! Appreciate it.
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Re: The tale of Piltdown Man, the most infamous forgery in the  [#permalink]

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20 May 2018, 03:51
Bunuel wrote:
msk0657 wrote:
Hi Sajid,

You are doing good job posting RCs from various sources and you need to notice one thing some of your RC posts are not formatted correctly and some information is missing in the passages. If you observe that in this passage itself the last paragraph is incomplete.

Can you give me the official explanation for the question no 3.

Finally learned Formatting RC after so much time and now Formatted accordingly

Thank you very much for your effort! Appreciate it.

My Pleasure!
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Re: The tale of Piltdown Man, the most infamous forgery in the  [#permalink]

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20 May 2018, 09:30
can some one explain answer for question 2 and 3. i got them wrong.
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Re: The tale of Piltdown Man, the most infamous forgery in the  [#permalink]

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20 May 2018, 16:00
Hi, I was wondering could you please post the OEs for each of the questions as well? Would greatly appreciate it!
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Re: The tale of Piltdown Man, the most infamous forgery in the  [#permalink]

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21 May 2018, 05:21
csaluja wrote:
Hi, I was wondering could you please post the OEs for each of the questions as well? Would greatly appreciate it!

Q.#1

Explanation:

The answer is A. Prominent brow ridges are mentioned as distinctly ape-like. The author states that although the hominid had thick bones, it had a large and rounded braincase. In other words, thick bones are not expected in a human skeleton.

Q.#2

Explanation:

The fact that the findings supported a prediction and that too in precisely the feature that was then accepted as the most important difference between humans and the apes indicated that the scientists had preconceived ideas.

Q#3

Explanation:

The animal bones were the only part of the findings that were of Pleistocene origin. They were thought to be old from the first, and hence, were not more recent than first thought.

Q#4

Explanation:

The fact that the forgery was quite apparent once the evidence was examined carefully suggests that it could have been detected earlier if anyone had looked. It was only reexamined when it was found after many years that, The large brain simply did not fit with the rest of the fossil evidence.

Hope it Helps
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Re: The tale of Piltdown Man, the most infamous forgery in the &nbs [#permalink] 21 May 2018, 05:21
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