Illustration of Java man

1891 Java man

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Eugène Dubois primatology Illustration of Java man

Java man

Ernst Haeckel claimed humans originated in southeast Asia because he thought the Sumatran orangutan was our closest cousin. Eugène Dubois thought he had proven Haeckel’s theory because he found a tooth, skull cap, and thigh bone of a human-like ape or an ape-like human on the nearby island of Java.

Missing the link

Dubois called his missing link Anthropithecus Cross that out. Pithecanthropus erectus Cross that out, too. Homo erectus was not related to the orangutan. He was out of Africa— or out of Asia. Some paleoanthropologists think he was a common ancestor of Homo habilis, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis, and us; some think he was an east Asian species of homo ergaster; and some think he was was not related to homo ergaster.


Like a person from another school another city, state, country another religion or political party another sexuality another race with his low forehead his prominent brow ridge, this creature is weird but not as weird as bear or coyote whom native Americans called brothers.

Eugène Dubois was the first anthropologist to deliberately search for fossils of hominids. Lacking geneological records, it was difficult for Dubois to have his claims taken seriously. Even with more bones uncovered and modern dating methods, it is impossible today for scientists to determine with certainty on the place of Java man in the evolution of hominids.

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