Gustav Heinrich Ralph von Koenigswald was a German-Dutch palaeontologist. His discoveries of hominid fossils in Java and his other studies in human fossil research made him the leading figures of 20th Century paleo-anthropology.
During one of his excavation trips to the Solo River at Ngandong, he thought of engaging the locals to assist him in finding the hominid bones. This move turned out to be one of the biggest tactical errors.
He decided to offer the locals 10 cents for every piece of hominid bone they could come up with. The scheme seemed to work until Koenigswald discovered that the locals had been enthusiastically smashing large pieces into small ones to maximize their income.
He failed to set the incentives thoughtfully and people optimized for maximum return on their efforts.
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