Science: Disappearing Man

The precious bones—six skulls, a half-dozen lower jaws, 100 teeth, a few odd fragments of arms & legs—were carefully packed in two unpainted wooden boxes. First the boxes were stored in a secret vault at Peking Union Medical College. Then they were spirited away and delivered to the U.S. Marine barracks for shipment to New York City. That was in the fall of 1941. It was the last seen of Peking Man and fragmentary friends.

Peking Man—Sinanthropus pekinensis—was the paleontological sensation of the 1920s. To Paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews, Peking Man "ranks as...

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