Peking Man Getting Older

Peking Man

Peking Man

Thanks to more advanced dating techniques, the age of Peking Man, Homo erectus pekinensis remains found in a cave in Zhoukoudian China in 1921, has been pushed back to 770,000 years old.

The excavation of the cave, located on a high point known to the locals as Dragon Bone Hill, began in earnest 1921 and was not completed until the 1980’s. During this time the remains of nearly 50 individuals have been unearthed there, but the bones that have been found were mostly restricted to skulls and limbs, many of them damaged. This has lead anthropologists to conclude that perhaps our ancestors were not the dinner hosts at this particular cave, but instead the dinner. Marks indicative of gnawing has been observed on many of the bones. The remains of hyenas, the prime suspect in this case, were also found in the cave.

Because of unrest in China, in 1941 the bones of Peking Man were to be shipped to America for safe keeping. They never arrived. They disappeared somewhere en route and to this day have never been recovered.

Homo erectus was the first hominid to wander outside of the confines of the African continent and finds have been found in Europe, Indonesia, China, and Vietnam. Though now extinct, there is evidence that this species of human managed to survive for well over a million years; a feet we will be lucky to duplicate.

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