Orgueil, France, *1864. The subject of a famous hoax. Credit: WikiCommons/Basilicofresco

Through the second half of the 19th century, more and more falls were witnessed and recovered, and an increasing degree of scientific scrutiny was applied to them. Improvements in experimental instruments and techniques led to more detailed analysis of their composition. Speculation about their origin increased.

But scientists aren’t any more immune to a bit of fun, or mischief, than the rest of us. A hoax was uncovered in 1965, when a grass seed was found deep inside the meteorite. The perpetrator was never discovered, although it is believed that he or she was trying to influence the debate on spontaneous generation.