Greater Ancestors

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the Cardiff Giant exposed by the unreliable witness

cardiffexposedmarshExposed the Cardiff Giant.
It was Professor Marsh • who exposed
the famous Cardiff giant. In October,
1869. a farmer named Newell; living near
Cardiff, N. V., twelve miles south of Sy
racuse, was digging a well when he un
expectedly unearthed a stone giant ten
feet long with a body, head and limbs in
perfect proportion. It was at once pro
claimed as the remains of. a- prehistoric
man. and numbers of scientists made pil
grimages of examination ‘ and j recorded
their belief In its very great value as a
scientific discovery. Even the State geol
ogist of New York became greatly Inter
ested In the giant and endeavored to have
It sent to the State Museum at Albany.
But lt was finally placed on exhibition at
Syracuse, where. It soon became an at
traction almost equal to a circus.
Special trains were run from the sur
rounding country to accommodate the
people who wished to see it, and its
owners are said to have refused an offer
of $300,000 In cash for It, although they
subsequently parted with a quarter share.
So Important did the relic become ln the
eyes of the scientific world that Professor
Marsh visited Syracuse and made an ex
amination of the giant. Tho next day he
wrote to a friend:
“It Is of very. recent origin, and a most
decided humbug.”
“He found that the flc»ure had been
cut from a block of gypsum, similar to
that found in many parts of New York,
and a close Inspection revealed the pres
ence of human workmanship.
“As gypsum is soluble in , about \ 400
parts of .water,” he wrote, “a very short
exposure would suffice to obliterate ail
traces of tool marks and also to roughen
the surfaces.”- ■■ – ” * .-••••-•
Professor Marsh’s letter was published
in a Buffalo newspaper. The account of
how the stone man was made had the
effect of stimulating the manufacture of
giants, and to. the astonishment of every
one half a dozen Cardiff giants were be
ing exhibited around the country within a


O.C.. Marsh was not without contraversy. In fact Marsh had his own hoax, the Brontosaurus hoax. Marsh named a new dinosaur in fact it was quite the deception. March had placed an apatasurus head on a diplodocus body and a new species that never existed was born. Marsh is also known for the bone wars a childish war between rival Edward Drinker Cope. One of the most embarrassing rivalries in the history of the world.


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