|Dubois, Marie Eugène François Thomas (1858-1940)|
| Dutch palaeontologist who
in Indonesia 1891 discovered the remains of an early species of human,
Homo erectus, known as Java man.
Dubois was born in Eijsden, on the Belgian border, and studied at the University of Amsterdam. In 1887 he joined the Army Medical Service and was posted to Java - then a Dutch possession - where he was commissioned by the Dutch government to search for fossils. He returned to Europe 1895 and became a professor at Amsterdam 1899.
Dubois set out to search for the 'missing link' in the evolutionary chain. The remains of extinct animals had been found on the banks of the Solo River in E Java, and it was there that he found teeth, a skullcap, and a femur. The teeth were intermediate between ape and human. The femur was definitely human, the ends of the bone and the straightness of the shaft suggesting that its owner had walked erect. From the brain capacity it was thought that Pithecanthropus erectus (as it was first called) was almost exactly halfway between ape and human on the evolutionary scale, although it is now considered to be more human and is called Homo erectus.