Java Man, 1894

  1. 31. Dubois, Eugene (1858-1940). 
    Pithecanthropus Erectus.  Eine Menschenaehnliche Uebergangsform aus Java.  Jakarta: Landesdruckerei, 1894. 

Eugene Dubois, a Dutch physician and anatomist, was weaned on the books of Charles Darwin, Thomas H. Huxley, and Ernest Haeckel, and he grew up convinced not only that humans had evolved from more primitive ape-like ancestors, but that fossils of these “missing links” were just waiting to be found.  Haeckel had suggested that modern humans might have originated in Java and Borneo, the home of the gibbon and orangutan, and Dubois wanted to go there.  Unable to find private or government support for his venture, Dubois enlisted as a physician in the Royal Army of the Dutch East Indies and was sent to Sumatra in 1887.  In 1891, at a site named Trinil in Java, he found a skull-cap, a human tooth, and a femur.  The femur was human-like, but the skull cap was much smaller and flatter than that of a modern human. Dubois called his find Pithecanthropus erectus, the upright ape-man. To the popular press, it quickly became "Java man".  We now recognize that Java man was the first recovered specimen of what we now call Homo erectus.