In the year 1887 a young Dutchman named Eugene Dubois left the Netherlands on a ship bound for the East Indies. Born in 1858, Dubois had spent seven years studying medicine at the University of Amsterdam before taking up a teaching post there. His chief interest. however, was the evolution theory which had been proposed
by Charles Darwin some years earlier. Convinced that the most likely places to find fossilized remnants of mankind's early ancestors lay in tropical zones, Dubois quit his job at the university and joined the Dutch Colonial Army as a medical officer
Arriving first in Sumatra, he was able to obtain financial support from the army and began excavating in a number of caves. Initial results, however, proved disappointing, since the fossils he discovered were too young to yield evidence of the 'missing link' for which he was searching. . Then he heard news of some exciting discoveries being made by van Rietschoten in the Wajak Mountains near Tulungagung in East Java. Moving from Sumatra, Dubois turned his attention to the region of Ngawi and in 1891 unearthed his first significant evidence, a skull cap and upper jaw molar. on the banks of the Solo River at Trinil. He attributed the fossils to a type of ape which he named Anthropopithecus. But eleven months later, in August 1892, he discovered a femur on the same level as the previous year's finds, which appeared to prove that the creature had walked upright. As a result, Dubois concluded that what he had found was an 'upright walking ape-man'. which he named Pithecanthropus Erectus. The article which Dubois was to publish in 1894, claiming that Pithecanthropuswas a distant ancestor of modern man and had lived almost a million years ago. caused such an outcryamong the scientific community as well as the religious orthodoxy that he ended up re-burying his discoveries under his own house,where they remained for the next thirty years.




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