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1894 Haeckel Pithecanthropus ape man crop

1894 Haeckel Pithecanthropus ape man crop

C011/0813

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Credit

PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Pithecanthropus europeaus alalus (european speechless ape-man) by Gabriel Max, 1894, reproduced as Photogravure Plate 29 in Ernst Haeckel "Naturliche Schopfungs-Geschichte" (Natural History of Creation), Druck und Verlag, Berlin 1898. This painting was presented to Haeckel on his 60th birthday to celebrate his naming (without any fossil evidence!) a 'theoretical' missing link between man and ape "Pithecanthropus alalus". The painting was purely hypothetical as no hominids were yet discovered. Some report it was originally commissioned by Haeckel's enemy Virchow to make fun of him - but if so, it mis-fired as the picture reified the concept. At around the same time, one of Haeckel's students, Eugene Dubois, found the first fossil Homo erectus specimens and gave the new species the name Pithecanthropus erectus honouring Haeckels' speculative ape man.

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