Pithecanthropus erectus . Eine menschenaehnliche Uebergangsform aus Java. Mit Zwei tafeln und Drei in den Text gedruckten Figuren. [AND] On Pithecanthropus erectus : a transitional form between Man and the apes.
Item ID 71377
Batavia, Landesdruckerei, 1894. Large 4to (32.2 x 25.9 cm). Title page, [ii], 31 pp., two plates (one with photos of a skull, the other a tinted lithograph of bones), three text illustrations. Blind quarter cloth over original printed boards. Very good copy of the true first edition of this ground-breaking work in human evolution, being the first unambiguous record of "the missing link", a human species decidedly older and more primitive than Homo sapiens , based on well-preserved fossils found at Trinil near the Bengawan [Bengavian] Solo river in east-central Java. The Dutch anatomist, anthropologist and palaeontologist Marie Eugène François Thomas Dubois (1858-1940) was the first to deliberately search for hominid fossils, and the first to be successful at it. Dubois' discovery was proof that humans were as much the subject of evolution as any other animal or plant. This edition precedes the edition from Jaarboek van het Mijnwezen and its offprint, which were both published in 1895. Dubois immediately realized the great importance of his discovery and could not wait for the Jaarboek to be published, let alone for a thorough description of all the mammalian fossils found at the Trinil site. In the preface, dated January 1894, Dubois stated "Für die Abfassung einer einigermaassen vollständigen Beschreibung ist die Vergleichung der gesammelten Fossilien mit ähnlichen Sammlungen, namentlich in europäischen Museen... erforderlich - und so wird die Veröffentlichung jener Beschreibung und der in mancher Beziehung wichtigen allgemeineren Untersuchungsergebnisse wahrscheinlich nog längere Zeit ausbleiben müssen. Die in der vorliegende Abhandlung beschriebene Form is jedoch von zo ganz besonderem Interesse, und giebt zu Schlüssen von so grosser und allgemeiner Bedeutung Anlass, dass... sie schon jetzt zu bearbeiten und der Oeffentlichkeit zu überlieferen". It took Dubois and his fossils many years to convince the majority of the scientific world of the importance of these findings, and today it is universally regarded as a cornerstone in human palaeontology and evolution. This edition was printed at and published by the "Landesdruckerei" [actually Landsdrukkerij in Batavia, or modern-day Jakarta]. Very few copies of this edition are known to exist. ADDED: Dubois's On Pithecanthropus erectus: a transitional form between Man and the apes ., published in Dublin, by The Royal Dublin Society, in 1896. With 18 pp.; three text illustrations and original printed wrappers. This is Dubois's first English work, in which he replied to much of the original criticism immediately following his initial publication (the one described above) in 1894, basically squashing all doubts about the age, properties and meaning of the skeleton parts found. The figures include a comparison of ancient and modern skulls, and a proposed phylogeny of the hominids, Pithecanthropus firmly placed directly preceding modern Homo. Published in the Society's Scientific Transactions , volume VI (Series II), [Part] I and occupying the whole issue, thus with its own printed wrappers. Uncut. Edges a bit soiled and abraded. Small ink annotation on the front wrapper. Otherwise a very good, clean copy. Rare. Dubois's 1894 work with board edges a bit rubbed, later cloth spine. Provenance: pencilled annotation on the front board, stating that this copy was received from Dubois on 16 May 1934. A fine and clean copy. Garrison-Morton, 210. True first edition of the discovery of the Ape-Man from Java