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...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!