Morphology of Solo Man

Morphology of Solo Man

Morphology of Solo Man

Morphology of Solo Man

Excerpt

On July 11, 1948, Dr. Franz Weidenreich passed away very unexpectedly, leaving behind the uncompleted description of the Solo skulls, on which he had labored with unflagging enthusiasm since September, 1946. He will always be remembered for his work on Peking man, and even those who disagree with him must admire his acute observations, his painstaking and well-balanced descriptions, his love for details, his style, and the enormous range of his knowledge. Weidenreich saw and studied more fossil human material than anyone before him, and this personal knowledge provided him with a deeper insight than the mere study of books and casts. After the tragic loss during the war of the Peking material, the new finds from Java so aroused his interest that he did not wait for the end of the war, when the original material would presumably become available, but he described the casts, which had been forwarded to him for safeguarding, in an extensive publication in 1945.

Weidenreich and the present writer were in close contact ever since Weidenreich's visit to Java in 1938. His enthusiastic reception of each new discovery, his inspiring letters, and his financial aid were of immeasurable assistance in our search for early man, which had only slight official encouragement in its early stages. At his suggestion, I went to Peking from Java in 1939 to study the relationship between Pithecanthropus and Sinanthropus and to prepare a description of the new Pithecanthropus skull of 1937 under his direction. It was in his laboratory in the Cenozoic Research Laboratory in Peking that I learned to appreciate not only his systematic and analytic mind but his honest personality.

Weidenreich left China for New York in 1941. After the end of the war in the Pacific, when he learned that my family and I had survived the occupation in Java and that the skulls were safe, he immediately explored every avenue of assistance to enable me to come to the United States. I am glad that our Javanese material gave him some consolation for the loss of the Peking material, since the Ngandong finds fill the gap between the Sinanthropus-Pithecanthropus and the Neanderthal . . .

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