London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2001. Octavo, illustrations, fine copy in dustwrapper.
Shipman's book tells the story of Dutch scientist Eugene Dubois, whose discovery completely altered our view of human origins. The author uses a range of letters, diaries and photographs from Dubois' personal collection, friends and enemies to create this chain reaction of inspiration, betrayal, cruelty and love that orbited round those fossils.
Written in the style of a novel, this biography tells the story of one the greatest turn-of-the-century scientists, the Dutchman Eugene Dubois, whose discovery of the "missing link" completely altered our view of human origins. Through sheer force of personality, intellect and luck, Dubois pulled off one of the most amazing scientific coups of all time. As a young man, he decided that the most important contribution a man could make to science would be to find the missing link, the extinct form that exemplifies the evolutionary connection between apes and humans. It would be proof of Darwinian evolution, then still a highly controversial theory. On the basis of logic he deduced where the missing line should be, went to Java in 1891, and found the fossil now known as "homo erectus". Dubois was a brilliant and complex character who guarded his fossils jealously: "homo erectus" was kept on his bookshelf for 20 years. In this biography, Shipman uses a range of letters, diaries and photographs from Dubois' personal collection and those of friends, enemies and admirers to create a story driven account of how Dubois' life and career exploded across the world in the 1890s.
Price: $60.00 AU