There has been many hoaxes that have flourished for a period of time, some longer than others. But these ones have been exposed and were found to be hoaxes. These four men and a bird were supposedly prehistoric in origin. They were big news when they discovered them but they have now fizzled out and are almost forgotten because they never actually existed. They were the Cardiff Man, Java Man, Nebraska Man, Piltdown Man, and the Piltdown Chicken.
Cardiff Man (Cardiff Giant) In 1869, as America was gripped by its very first evolution versus creation debate, a scam artist and cigar manufacturer named George Hull had a debate with a fundamentalist preacher about Genesis 6:4 and its reference to "giants in the earth". He purchased a 5 ton block of gypsum and had it sculptured in his likeness, but in the form of a 10 foot 4 and 1/2 inch, 2990 pound giant. He wondered if people like the preacher could be convinced that a large, stone statue found in the ground was actually a "petrified man". He decided to find out. So he buried it on his brother-in-law's farm in Cardiff, New York, and hired well diggers to discover it. This hoax made a lot of money until it was exposed in New York City when P.T. Barnum had one of his own showing in the same city. The Cardiff Giant statue can be seen at the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, New York.
Java Man (Pithecanthropus erectus) was found in 1891. Dutch anatomist Eugene Dubois, the father of modern paleontology, aimed to find the "missing link", half-man, half-ape critter that would prove Darwin's theories of evolution correct. Java Man was put together on the evidence of a femur (large leg bone), a skull cap, and three molar teeth. These parts were found within a 50 foot range, in a space of one year. Dr. Dubois concealed for 30 years the fact that he found human skulls near his Java Man, and at the same level of strata. So man was already there when this creature was supposedly alive. The femur was that of a human and the skull cap came from a giant ape. Before his death, and after he had convinced most of his early skeptics, Dubois changed his mind and decided that Java Man was probably a giant gibbon and not man-like at all.
Nebraska Man (Hesperopithecus) was discovered in 1922 by Harold Cook in the supposedly Pliocene deposits of Nebraska. At the famous Scopes Trial (July 10 to July 21, 1925) in Dayton, Tennessee, the Nebraska man evidence was presented by the leading scientific authorities of that day as prove of evolution. They scoffed and laughed at William Jennings Bryan, when he protested the scanty evidence. The evidence was that of a tooth that was supposed to have come from a prehistoric man who supposedly lived one million years ago. When paleontologists returned to the site in 1928, they found the rest of the skeleton. They discovered the tooth belonged to an extinct pig.
Piltdown Man (Eoanthropus dawsoni) was discovered by amateur geologist Charles Dawson in 1912 at England's Piltdown Common. A piece of a jaw, two molar teeth, and a piece of skull was evidence acclaimed by experts as that of an ape-man who was about a half million years old. But in 1953 the hoax was exposed. The jawbone turned out to be that of a modern ape (orangutan). The teeth had been filed down, and the bones were artificially colored to deceive the public. The ease with which this fraud fooled the world's greatest authorities illustrates the powerful influence of preconceived ideas among evolutionists. Piltdown Man never existed.
Piltdown Chicken (Archaeoraptor liaoningensis) was discovered in 1999 in China. It was supposedly a missing link. It was a meat-eating bird with a dinosaur like tail. The Piltdown Chicken was displayed at prestigious museums and featured in a National Geographic story. But the beast was a hoax staged by shady fossil traffickers in China. To its credit, National Geographic investigated and published a quick retraction on the Piltdown Chicken.
For more information on other hoaxes go to http://www.museumofhoaxes.com