File:Nebraska Man.jpg

Nebraska man (also called Hesperopithecus haroldcookii) was a case of evolutionary speculation. Nebraska man was based on the find of a single peccary-like tooth (wild pig like tooth) found by a rancher in 1922.

Nebraska Man was debated vigorously among evolutionary paleoanthropologists for five years until Dr. Gregory King Williams published a refutation of the find in the journal Science which ended the debate[1] Nebraska man never gained wide acceptance by evolutionary scientists although it enjoyed coverage in newspapers including the Illustrated London News.[1][2]

Dr. Henry Fairfield Osborn, head of the Department of Paleontology at New York’s American Museum of Natural History, used Nebraska Man to promote the idea of human beings evolving from apes, and was planning on introducing it as evidence at the Scopes Trial, although that never eventuated.[3] The Scopes trial was being prosecuted by William Jennings Bryan, about whom Osborn wrote in the press:

The earth spoke to Bryan from his own state of Nebraska. The Hesperopithecus tooth is like the still, small voice. Its sound is by no means easy to hear... This little tooth speaks volumes of truth, in that it affords evidence of man’s descent from the ape.[2]


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  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. Most expert testimony was excluded from the trial.

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