Summary: The Case Of The Piltdown Man

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Tutorial 7 - Plagiarism and Fraud

“Piltdown Man”

The case of the ‘Piltdown Man’ dates back to 1912 when the skull of an apparent hominid was discovered at in a small community in East Sussex called Piltdown. Since the skull was believed to be real it was given a binomial name by the scientific community, the ‘Piltdown Man’ was known as Eoanthropus dawsoni, which means “Dawson’s dawn-man”. Dawson was the last name of the archaeologist Charles Dawson who was recognised as being the discoverer of the skull. The skull showed characteristics of both apes and the early ancestors of humans, leading scientists to believe that Eoanthropus dawsoni, was the missing link between apes and modern day humans. The skull was the same as a human skull in many ways, however the cranial volume was much smaller than that of a human. Another major difference which lead to the Eoanthropus dawsoni being labelled a fake
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In 1998 Wakefield’s research team published a paper in ‘The Lancet’ medical journal, which outlined the links between the MMR vaccine and autism. The initial paper was not widely publicised in newspapers, however after a follow up paper from Wakefield which ‘suggested that the immunisation programme was not safe’, there was a media frenzy, with the MMR vaccine scare becoming one of the widest reported science story’s of 2002. Both the public and various media outlets attacked the government and the NHS, going so far as to ask the current prime minister Tony Blair if his son had received the MMR vaccine. It was discovered in 2004 that the Legal Aid Board had bribed Andrew Wakefield with £55,000 to find evidence against the creators of the vaccine, as many of their clients claimed that the vaccine had given their children developmental defects. This amounted to a conflict of interests, where Wakefield falsified results in order to receive the

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