A Friendly Reminder to Contemporary Paleoanthropologists From L. S. B. Leakey

Years ago, as part of an honors project for a physical anthropology class, I was assigned a number of books to read. One of which was Adam’s Ancestors by L. S. B. Leakey. I haven’t read it since, but the other day I decided to buy a copy – the revised version published in 1960 – and was amused to read this in the prologue:

The Piltdown fraud also provides a stern warning against the practice of keeping a scientific specimen under such conditions that it cannot be fully and critically examined by those qualified to do so[bolding mine – Afarensis].
On several occasions in the past, I tried to get permission to make a detailed study of the original Piltdown fossils, but on each occasion was only shown them for a few brief moments and not allowed to examine them properly, and was then given a cast to work on.
It was only when Weiner was allowed to make a critical check on the surface of the original teeth and only when he saw what appeared to be file marks, (which do not show on the casts of the teeth), that he began to suspect fraud, and intensified his check-up.

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