Piltdown man and radiocarbon dating
This paper was presented in a poster session of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists on April 1, 1994 and is appearing here by the kind permission of the author.
The abstract of this paper appears in the February 1994 issue of the AJPA Assessment of the chemical composition of the fossil specimens associated with the Piltdown cranial remains suggests several possible source localities for the introduced elements.
Although this can be compensated for by accommodating for the rate of absorption in calculations, such an accommodation tends to have a rather large margin of error.
In 1953 this test was used to easily identify that the 'Piltdown Man' was forged, almost 50 years after it was originally 'unearthed'.
Fluorine absorption dating can be carried out based on the fact that groundwater contains fluoride ions.
Woodward's primary motivation may have been an effort to establish himself as the principal candidate for the coveted Directorship of the Natural History Museum.
It has been four decades since the revelation that a human cranium and an orangutan mandible were fraudulently introduced into the Piltdown gravel bed.
Many instances of this dating method compare the amount of fluorine and uranium in the bones to nitrogen dating to create more accurate estimation of date.
Older bones have more fluorine and uranium and less nitrogen.
The late Tom Harrison, Curator of the Sarawak Museum, proposed a less subjective but more discriminating method to identify potential perpetrators: tracing the orangutan mandible used in the episode from its point of origin to those individuals who may have had opportunity to plant it in the Piltdown (Harrison 1959).