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The Peking Man

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Who is the Peking Man? | What did they Find? | Important Dates | Pictures | Fun Facts
Who is the Peking Man?

"Peking Man" is the name used for the bones of an extinct hominids discovered near Beijing, China in 1927 inside Zhoukoudian (pronounced Chou-k'ou-tien) Cave. A skull was identified from a single tooth as belonging to the species Homo erectus by David Black, an anthropolgist during the same year it was found. After the skull was found, other bones were excated from the site which was studied and searched over and over again for many years and still is to this day under extensive research. The fossils found have been determined to be as old as 130,000 years old, which would make the humans to be from the Middle Pleistocene era. From the fossilized skull, we now know that humans from that era possessed a much smaller brain (The skull's cranial capacity is 1,075 cubic cm while the average capacity of a modern man is 1,350 cubic cm). The teeth and arm bones are indistinguishable from the bones of modern man. In 1941, the fossils were still under study and were kept at Peking Union Medical College. However, when the Japanese were invading China, there was an attempt to smuggle all of the fossils to the United States for safe and unrestricted study. During the mission, the bones disappeared and have not been rediscovered. Today we only have the plaster casts for those fossils and those found during a 1958 excavation.

The skull of Peking Man

This illustration of a complete skull is a reconstruction by Franz Weidenreich based on the bones from at least four different individuals (no fossil was near being this complete).



Report By: George Stamps