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Kenneth Page Oakley
by Walter Stonemanbromide print, 1957NPG x88107
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Dr Ruth Richardson
20 December 2015, 21:56
Kenneth Oakley was a key figure in the exposure of the fraud involved in Piltdown Man. His work (at the Natural History Museum, South Kensington) on the fluorine test (an early chemical profiling test for assessing the relative age of fossils) revealed a serious discrepancy between the Piltdown cranium/jawbone and the other fossils and tools found at Piltdown. His work provoked Joseph Weiner at Oxford to experiment with methods of falsifying fossils, which resulted in further investigations, and the proof that the Piltdown Man was a clever hoax. The British Library holds a recording of Oakley, Weiner and others discussing the matter on BBC radio soon afterwards.
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National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE
Switchboard: +44 (0) 20 7306 0055