Dart Discovers the First Recognized Australopithecine Fossil (Great Events from History II: Science and Technology Series)
Article abstract: Dart discovered the first Australopithecine, or the link between ape and man, cast in limestone recovered from a quarry in Taung, South Africa.
Summary of Event
In 1871, Charles Darwin suggested in The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex that because living mammals in various regions of the world exhibit similarities to the extinct ones of the same region, it was quite likely that Africa would prove to be the continent where humankind first appeared. This notion was based on the idea that the gorilla and chimpanzee of Africa were humankind’s closest living relatives. Darwin’s suggestion was to become the center of a debate that greatly influenced the field of paleoanthropology. It was made knowing that the only fossils discovered by 1871 were found in Europe; for example, the first paleontological human remains were those of Neanderthal man, found in Germany in 1856. Indeed, the first hominid remains recovered outside Europe were those from Java, found in 1891 by Eugene Dubois.
Dubois, a Dutch anatomist and physician, had set out in 1887 from Holland to search for early man in the Dutch East Indies. Like Darwin, he believed that human ancestors would be found where the living mammals most closely resembled humans. Unlike Darwin, however, Dubois believed that the gibbon and orangutan of southeast Asia were the primates most closely resembling humans. In Java, during...
(The entire section is 2026 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!