Lessons From Piltdown Man

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)

Does The Fossil Record Show That Humans Evolved From Apes?

The Bible claims that mankind was created specially in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28). However, the widely accepted theory of evolution claims that mankind has arrived at his present stage as a gradual development from one species to another over long eons of time. It is usually said that the “fossil record” contains evidence of these changes.

Which is true?

If the Bible is the Word of God, and if the Bible teaches that the theory of macroevolution is false, then the theory of macroevolution is false.

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence to document that the Bible truly is the Word of God. What’s more, it is very clear that the Bible teaches that the theory of evolution is false (for example, the Bible teaches that God made man separate and apart from the animals on Day Six, that he is a special creation; whereas the theory of evolution teaches that man is simply the development of millions of years of evolution from apes to humans).

Therefore, it is the case that the theory of evolution is false (please remember that in this article, the word “evolution” has reference to “macroevolution,” the belief that one species can change into another.

There is no problem with the concept of “microevolution,” change within species. It is the Darwinian concept of macroevolution-change between species-that I am discussing in this article). Truth be told, this settles the matter. Every time in the past when modern scientific theory has attacked the Bible, the Bible has always been vindicated. Yet because the attacks against the Bible are so forceful today, and because so many people have been deceived by Darwinism, we are going to take a careful look at the subject of the fossil record. (A fossil is the remains of something-animal, vegetable, or mineral-that has been preserved in rock).

Well, what about the fossil record?

Does it support evolution or creation?

In this article, I am going to share some
information with you about a famous fossil known as “Piltdown Man.”

The story of Piltdown Man goes back to the year 1912, when a lawyer named Charles Dawson brought a collection of bones, teeth, and primitive implements to a friend at the British Museum for analysis. The experts of the day said that the bones were 500,000 years old, and for the next forty years, Piltdown Man-also dubbed Eoanthropus Dawsoni-was hailed as THE missing link between humans and apes. Plaster casts were sent to museums all over the world, hundreds of doctoral dissertations were written about the fossils, and Piltdown Man was now in the school textbooks and home encyclopedias.

Of course, the truth-as it is often is-was much stranger than fiction.

It was discovered almost forty years after its’ discovery that Piltdown Man was a huge and intentional fraud!

Brad Harub, scientist and evangelist in the church of Christ, tells us:

“For more than forty years, this fossil find was touted as “the missing link” that connected humans with the apes. Textbooks were published teaching multiple generations that this discovery-from an archaeological site in Piltdown, England, between 1908 and 1912-was evidence for evolution. The only problem was that it was a complete fraud! Many prominent scientists like Sir Arthur Smith Woodward, Sir Arthur Keith, and Grafton Elliot Smith proclaimed this discovery genuine. So exactly how did these bone fragments fool some of the best scientific minds of the time? Perhaps the men were blinded by the desire to be part of a “great discovery.” Forty years after it was announced, it was discovered that scientists had taken a modern human skull and combined it with the jawbone of an orangutan (even filing down the back teeth of the orangutan to make them look more humanlike). They dipped the whole thing in acid to give it an aged appearance and presented it to the world as our “missing ancestor.” Sadly, someone had even buried a tooth fragment from an elephant molar, a tooth from a hippopotamus and a canine tooth from a chimpanzee fossil to make the Piltdown quarry where this alleged fossil man was discovered appear more significant! In 1953, Piltdown man was exposed as a forgery and the truth became public knowledge.”. (Brad Harub, Convicted: A Scientist Examines The Evidence For Christianity, 186; Brentwood, TN; Focus Press)

Indeed, there are many lessons that we can learn from Piltdown Man.

Piltdown Man Reminds Us Of The Desperation Of Evolutionary Scientists To Deal With The Problem Of Missing Links In The Fossil Record

The truth is, Piltdown Man reminds us that the fossil record actually supports special creation, not evolution.

For example, one of the biggest problem for Darwinism is the fact of “missing links.” If the theory of macroevolution is true, there should be fossil remains of creatures that exhibit change into other species. These are called “transitional forms.” However, the problem for Darwinism is that there are no such forms!

“Sunderland, quoted above, said “Our museums now are filled with over 100 million fossils of 250, 000 different species.” Here, in two brief paragraphs, is a clear description of the enormity of this missing link problem: “The time required for one of these invertebrates to evolve into the vertebras, or fishes, has been estimated at about 100 million years, and it is believed that the evolution of the fish into an amphibian required about 30 million years. The essence of the new Darwinian view is the slow gradual evolution of one plant or animal into another by the gradual accumulation of micro-mutations through natural selection of favored variants…Natural history museums should be overflowing with undoubted intermediate forms. About 250, 000 fossil species have been collected and classified. These fossils have been collected at random from rocks that are supposed to represent all of the geological periods of earth’s history.”. (Duane Gish, quoted in Vance Ferrell, The Evolution Handbook, 424-425; Altamont, TN; Evolution Facts, Inc.)

One of the biggest problems for evolutionists is the problem of the fossil record. There should be literally thousands upon thousands of these transitional forms. Yet they are missing! Indeed, the fossils we do have point strongly to special creation, and not to the theory of evolution.

For example, the fossils actually demonstrate a sudden explosion of life, which is something Darwinism simply cannot account for. One author explains it well:

“Nearly all the animal phyla suddenly ‘appear’ in the rocks of this period, with no evolutionary ancestors to back up the theory of gradual development. This so-called ‘Cambrian explosion’ of fossils represents nearly every major group of organisms alive today. To make matters worse, while the simplest life-forms are virtually absent, more complex creatures are found in their hundreds. As Richard Dawkins admits, “It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history.” Not surprisingly, the Berkeley law professor Philip Johnson describes the ‘Cambrian explosion’ as ‘the single greatest problem which the fossil record poses for Darwinism.” (John Blanchard, Does God Believe In Atheists? 95-96; Auburn, MA; Evangelical Press)

The evidence of the fossil record is so strongly in favor of scientific creationism that many Darwinists have rejected the theory of macroevolution because of it. One scientist expounds:

“The creation account in Genesis and the theory of evolution could not be reconciled. One must be right and the other wrong. The story of the fossils agrees with the account of Genesis. In the oldest rocks we did not find a series of fossils covering the gradual changes from the most primitive creatures to developed forms but rather, in the oldest rocks, developed species suddenly appeared. Between every species there was a complete absence of intermediate fossils.”. (D.B. Gower {biochemis}, “Scientist Rejects Evolution,” Kentish Times, quoted in Ray Comfort, The Evidence Bible, 1401; Gainesville, Florida; Bridge-Logos Publishers)

Piltdown Man shows us how desperate Darwinists are to do SOMETHING, no matter how preposterous, to deal with this “missing link” problem. The fossil record clearly testifies of God’s special creation, and our evolutionary friends simply cannot accept this.

Piltdown Man Reminds Us Of The Many Other Evolutionary Frauds And Problems Over The Years

Sadly, Piltdown Man is simply the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There have been many Darwinist frauds and deceptions over the years.

We could talk about Ernest Haeckel and his “contributions” in this area. Haeckel believed (as many Darwinists do) that an embryo “runs through” its’ evolutionary background in the womb. So (for example) there is a point where the embryo resembles a fish, and even develops gill slits (which we know today is not true).

In any case, Haeckel tried to bolster his claims with a well-known drawing which purported to compare the development of many different kinds of animals, trying to show that their development demonstrated they had a common ancestor. It was claimed that they all resembled each other remarkably during their development, and that this was a powerful proof of evolution.

Here is the problem: Haeckel’s evidence was faked!

He did several things to try and “pull the wool” over the eyes of the scientific community. Nevertheless, he was exposed in the eighteen hundreds.

So, if he was exposed in the eighteen hundreds, why am I bringing it up now? Haeckel’s drawings and theories are still used as evidence in textbooks today, even though it is well known they are a downright hoax. Shouldn’t this bother us?

Many evolutionists try to sidestep this issue by claiming that embryos are indeed similar in the stages of development. However, this misses the point on at least two counts.

First, Haeckel was trying to convince people that embryos are extremely similar especially in the beginning stages of development; however, an actual comparison of the embryos he used in the early stages of development demonstrates that they are extremely dissimilar (which argues against Darwinism).

Second, Haeckel’s drawings were shown to be wrong over a century ago, and yet his drawings are still used as evidence to bolster the theory of evolution.

If Darwinism is true, why would it need to continue to use the “evidence” of a discredited scientist, for over a hundred years? If there is so much overwhelming evidence pointing to Darwinism, why would the establishment need to continue to recycle Haeckel’s lie?

No friends, something is terribly amiss.

Maybe we could spend a little bit of time talking about archaeoraptor. The National Geographic Society claimed that this was the fossil remains of a missing link between terrestrial dinosaurs and birds that could fly. (Remember that Darwinists contend that dinosaurs eventually turned into reptiles). It had the tail of a dinosaur and the forelimbs of a bird. Evolutionists were ecstatic! Even the magazine National Geographic jumped on the bandwagon in its’ 1999 edition, claiming that there is now undeniable evidence that dinosaurs were the ancestors of the first birds.

Then a Chinese paleontologist demonstrated how someone had glued a dinosaur tail to a bird. He specifically tailored it to resemble exactly what Darwinist scientists had been looking for.

There are several such examples!

When a reported for Discover magazine interviewed ornithologist Alan Feduccia, Feduccia acknowledged:

“Archaeoraptor is just the tip of the iceberg. There are scores of fake fossils out there, and they have cast a dark shadow over the whole field. When you go to these fossil shows, it’s difficult to tell which ones are faked and which ones are not. I have heard there is a fake-fossil factory in northeast China, in Liaoning Province, near the deposits where many of these recent alleged feathered dinosaurs were found.”. (quoted in Lee Strobel, The Case For A Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God, 1029-1030 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing)

Someone might say, “Wait Mark, what about the fossils we HAVE discovered that are legitimate?”

Indeed, there have been fossils discovered, some human, and some non-human.

However, what have not been found are fossils that show the transition between apes and humans (“missing links”)!

More to the point, the “proofs” that evolutionists used to depend on as evidences of macroevolution have now been discredited.

Consider the following:

“Many scientists agree that the various proposed “ape-men” do not at all make up a series of evolutionary stages. Rather, some were actually varieties of true humans, such as the Neanderthals. Others were entirely non-humans, like the australopithecines. They were of the ape family. It is clear that when the claims for human ape-ancestors are investigated, we discover that both humans and apes appear in the fossils as fully formed creatures, without transition forms-just as would be expected if both were created that way from the beginning…The fossils once thought to be human ancestors are now known to be only those of extinct apes. You and I must ask ourselves, why is human evolution taught as fact in our textbooks and schools? Why do the great museums still carry plaster of Paris representations of ape-men? Perhaps it is because the only alternative is to admit that humans, as well as other living things, were simply created. Human beings are unique in comparison to every other living creature. Evolutionists say, however, that humans descended from apes through a series of transitional forms. For evidence, they initially point to several fossil discoveries that they allege show these transitions. Large numbers of these alleged transitional fossils have now been examined, and support the conclusion that there was no evolution from apes to humans. When new finds are made and only a scrap or two of bone is available, lots of speculation is possible. However, as the evidence has mounted regarding each proposed “ape-man,” they have one by one been discarded. This applies to Ramapithecus, Australopithecus, and homo habilis, while the standard Homo erectus is more and more being recognized as a true human. Neanderthal Man, whose contrives images are common in textbooks, we know today was actually a variety of human who suffered from disease known to cause physical deformities. The thirst to find fossils of an ape-man has also led to fraud and deception, best illustrated by so-called Nebraska man and Piltdown Man.” (Joe White and Nicholas Comminellis, Darwin’s Demise: Why Evolution Can’t Take The Heat, 1399-1428 (Kindle Edition; Green Forest, AR; Master Books)

What we find when we carefully examine the proofs of evolution is that they all evaporate. Instead of suggesting that man evolved from apes, they teach that apes and humans truly are two different species.

Piltdown Man Teaches Us That Scientists May Be Blinded By Prejudice

We often do not realize how bias affects scientists, just like others.

For example, when we go to a museum of natural history, we see amazing depictions of Darwinist scientists which show the so-called evolution of man from primitive life-forms to the advanced figure he is today.
Each drawing of man’s evolution is put forth in such a way that there can be no doubt that man must have truly gone through such an incredible evolution in the long eons of time. After all, the fossil record teaches us that man MUST HAVE evolved in this fashion!! Right?!

Aren’t we told that the fossils are so clear, that anyone with intelligence would accept Darwinism? Yes, we are TOLD this; but is it TRUE?

Consider the following:

“One famous fossil skull, discovered in 1972 in northern Kenya, changed its appearance dramatically depending on how the upper jaw was connected to the rest of the cranium. Roger Lewin recounts on occasion when paleoanthropologists Alan walker, Michael Day, and Richard Leakey were studying the two sections of “skull 1470.” According to Lewin, Walker said: “You could hold the “upper jaw” forward, and give it a long face, or you could tuck it in, making the face short…How you held it really depended on your preconceptions. It was very interesting watching what people did with it.” Lewin reports that Leakey recalled the incident too: “Yes. If you held it one way, it looked like one thing; if you held it another, it looked like something else.” Just recently, National Geographic magazine commissioned four artists to reconstruct a female figure from casts of seven fossil bones thought to be from the same species as skull 1470. One artist drew a creature whose forehead is missing and whose jaws look vaguely like those of a beaked dinosaur. Another artist drew a rather good-looking modern African-American woman with unusually long arms. A third drew a somewhat scrawny female with arms like a gorilla and a face like a Hollywood werewolf. And a fourth drew a figure covered with body hair and climbing a tree, with beady eyes that glare out from under a heavy, gorilla-like brow. This remarkable set of drawings shows clearly how a single set of fossil bones can be reconstructed in a variety of ways. Someone looking for an intermediate form to plug into an ape-to-human sequence could pick whichever drawing seems to fit best.” (Jonathan Wells, The Icons Of Evolution: Science Or Myth? Why Much Of What We Teach About Evolution Is Wrong,219-220 (emphasis added, M.T.); Washington D.C.; Regency Publishing)

These detailed charts and diagrams that we see displayed and paraded as “fact” of human evolution are, very simply, artistic renditions based on simple bone fragments and filled in with the artists’ prejudiced beliefs. What most evolutionists never tell us is that the fossils they find are usually simple bone fragments and remains, and that from these they employ artists to reconstruct from the fossils what they believe to be an accurate representation.

For example, Heidelberg Man was built from a jawbone that scientists know today to be human.

Nebraska Man was constructed from a tooth-yes, a tooth. (Later, this tooth was discovered to be a pig’s tooth-no “missing links” there!).

Pithecanthropus Erectus (Java Man) was discovered in 1890.

On and on the list goes!

Of course, as the above evidence documents, a person’s bias and imagination make a huge contribution to the final rendition of the fossil. These are not evidences of evolution; they are evidences of the fertile imaginations of humanity.

Meanwhile, the inescapable conclusion which the fossil record clearly points to-special creation-is subtly ignored.

Scott Huse makes these excellent comments regarding these matters:

“In closing, we note the highly speculative, unreliable, and imaginative nature of anthropology. In each case, mere fragments are the basis for reconstructing these so-called “ape-men.” Preconditioned artists, guided by their imaginative evolutionary bias, reconstruct the needed “missing links,” determining posture, expression, stature, and so on. Sweeping claims are made, and a flood of favorable literature typically follows such discoveries, all based on a few fossil fragments. To base the proposed evolutionary ancestry of man on such fragmentary evidence is highly questionable and very misleading especially when the evidence is not honestly presented. The colossal blunders and outright hoaxes of the past certainly support this fact…Creationists contend that the only true record of man’s ancestry, which began with Adam and Eve, is that which is recorded in the Bible. The Bible speaks clearly of man as a special creation, entirely unrelated to the animal kingdom by any sort of evolutionary connection (Gen. 1; I Cor. 15:39). Far from being an evolutionary accident of nature, man is the crown of creation, made in the very image of God (Gen. 1:26-27)” (Scott Huse, The Collapse Of Evolution, 129; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books).


Without a doubt, there are many valuable and important lessons we can learn from Piltdown Man and the fossil record. The scientific evidence vindicates the Bible, at the same time exposing the fallacies of “science falsely called” (I Timothy 6:20, KJV).

The Bible tells us how Jesus Christ came to this world to save mankind from sin (I Timothy 2:6; Luke 19:10). Through His atoning death, burial, and resurrection three days later (I Corinthians 15:1-8), we may enter into relationship with Him and His church (a relationship for which we were made-Ephesians 1:4-7) if we-as believers-will repent and be baptized in water for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:37-38). If you are an erring child of God, why not return to the Lord in repentance and prayer (1 John 1:9)?

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and rhe love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.



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