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Eugene Dubois
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Scientist
    (January 28, 1858-December 16, 1940)
    Born in Eijsden, Netherlands
    Birth name was Marie Eugene Francois Thomas Dubois
    Anthropologist
    Discovered the remains of ‘Java Man’ in the Dutch East Indies (1891)
    Named the species Pithecanthropus erectus
    Java Man was later reclassified as Homo erectus
    He used convicts for labor in his digs.
    When an initial scientific consensus emerged that Java Man represented an extinct side branch in human evolution instead of a link between apes and humans, he became so bitter that he locked his fossils away for over two decades.
    He refused to accept the evidence that Java Man and the later discovered Peking Man were members of the same species.
    A paper in which he suggested that Java Man resembled ‘a giant gibbon’ (1932) was widely misinterpreted as Dubois retracting his claim that Java Man was a link between apes and humans.
    Fellow anthropologist Arthur Keith commented that his theories ‘were so firmly held that his mind tended to bend facts rather than alter his ideas to fit them.’
    While earning his medical degree, he taught anatomy at two art schools.
    He was the first anthropologist to deliberately search for fossils of early humans. (All previous examples, such as Neanderthal Man, had been found accidentally.)
    Since the Dutch government was unwilling to fund his search, he joined the army in the Dutch East Indies as a military surgeon.
    His proposed name for Java Man, Pithecanthropus erectus, was used as a song title by jazz great Charles Mingus, and tends to prompt less adolescent tittering than ‘Homo erectus’ does.

Credit: C. Fishel


 
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