Nebraska Man

Nebraska Man illustration of two humanlike creatures, done by Amedee Forestier for the Illustrated London News (1922).

In the 1920s geologist Harold Cook discovered a single tooth in Nebraska. After examination, the paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn said it belonged to an early ape-man and named it Hesperopithecus haroldcookii after the discoverer. William K. Gregory and Milo Hellman, the specialists in teeth at the American Museum of Natural History, identified it as from a species closer to man than ape.

Anatomist and paleoanthropologist Grafton Elliot Smith, who had previously been involved with the Piltdown Man scandal, prompted The Illustrated London News to publish an artist's rendering of Nebraska Man (pictured at right). This, along with a diagram of Nebraska man's tooth, was published in The Illustrated London News on June 24, 1922.

However, after further excavations at the site where the tooth was found, it was later revealed to be falsely identified, and a consensus was reached that it instead belonged to a peccary (wild pig). Its identification as a missing link was retracted in the journal Science in 1927. Duane Gish properly observed:

This is a case in which a scientist made a man out of a pig, and the pig made a monkey out of the scientist!
Nebraska man's tooth. Drawing published in Illustrated London News on June 24, 1922.


  1. Gish, Duane T (1973). Evolution: The Fossils Say No! (2nd ed.). San Diego, California: Creation-Life Publishers. p. 91. ISBN 0-89051-007-5.
  2. Gregory, W.K. (1927). "Hesperopithecus apparently not an ape nor a man". Science 66 (1720): 57981. PMID 17810385.
  3. Gish, Duane T (1995). Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No!. El Cajon, California: Institute for Creation Research. p. 328. ISBN 0-89051-112-8.

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