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Discover Process of Peiking Man Site

Peiking Man Site Index : Introduction | Discover Process | Localities | Significance
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The early finds were no more than three teeth but these were to be the cause of great interest as they clearly came from a species of man that had not been found before and they were the first evidence of early human habitation in China during the Palaeolithic Age.

On December 2nd 1929 a complete skullcap was discovered and this proved the theory that was derived from the earlier finds of the teeth. This was in fact the proof of existence of a humanoid species dating from between 700,000 and 200,000 years ago.

This initial find was to lead to other discoveries of skeletal remains and from these it was possible to deduce that what became known to the World as Peking Man or Sinanthropus pekinensis was in fact in bodily form virtually identical to modern man.

Close by the Peking Man site but further up the mountainside three complete adult skulls were discovered. These have been attributed to what is now called Upper Cave Man. Here the important finds included bone needles, animal teeth that had been used as adornment and remains of necklaces. This shows these early people had the ability to fashion clothes from skins and not only made these to keep themselves warm but also made them to look attractive. Archaeologists have determined that the Upper Cave people lived some 18,000 years ago.

Unfortunately, when the Japanese invaded China in 1937, excavation at the Peking Man site was suspended. In 1947 all the fossils disappeared and it was thought that an attempt was made to smuggle them to America, sadly they have never been traced. Following the founding of the People's Republic of China, the work has been renewed and finds now include six intact skulls, parts of ten arm and other bones, twelve broken facial bones, fifteen lower mandibles and 157 teeth. In all these represent over 40 individuals of varying ages and sex.

The historical and cultural value of the Zhoukoudian site has been acknowledged by its listing as a World Heritage Site in December 1987 at the eleventh session of UNESCO.

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