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William Ruskin Butterfield

October 28, 2009 Hidden Stories 3 Comments

You might remember Mr. W. R. Butterfield, a curator from Hastings museum who writes to thank Mr. Batho for recommending that Mrs. Greg send her staff of office with the arms of Hastings to them. It seems that he too like many of the other museum professionals of the time was an interesting character.

Piltdown Man

Piltdown Man

He was involved in the Piltdown Man Forgery Case, which was perhaps the most famous paleontological hoax in history. The find consisted of fragments of skull and jawbone in the village of Piltdown in Sussex in 1912. It was the ‘discovery’ of Charles Dawson a collector, archaeologist and co-founder of the Hastings and St Leonards Museum Association. The fragments were considered to be remnants of early man and a vital missing link between humans and apes. However, in 1953 the remains were deemed to be a forgery as they discovered it was the jaw bone of an orangutang combined with the skull of a modern human.

Paleontologists had doubts from the beginning and tests concluded it to be a forgery yet most of the scientific community did not acknowledge it for over 30 years. The forger has never been revealed however, Wiliam Ruskin Butterfield is one of the suspects!


Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. Sharon Blakey says:

    Hi Michael, I’ll remember the next time I’m having a bad day that underneath it all I’m smiling!! Sharon

  2. michael says:

    The nice thing about skulls is they always look so happy despite everything!

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