Museum of Peking man in Zhoukoudian
Museum of Peking man, or the Anthropological Museum in Zhoukoudian, near Beijing. in the village of Zhoukoudian. In this place was made one of the most important discoveries in anthropology.…

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Museum of Peking man in Zhoukoudian

Museum of Peking man, or the Anthropological Museum in Zhoukoudian, near Beijing. in the village of Zhoukoudian. In this place was made one of the most important discoveries in anthropology. Here in 1921, were found the remains of prehistoric man, which then became known worldwide as Peking man (Sinanthropus pekinensis). This discovery became a worldwide sensation. Were first found in the remains of a prehistoric humanoid creatures not only in China but also throughout Asia. Peking man is considered by some as the “missing link” between APE and man. From 1923 to 1927 during the excavations were found several fragments of the skeleton of Peking man.


Peking man refers to a broad class of Homo erectus. It is believed that Peking man existed around the same period, the development of the first men, and People from the island of Java, was found in 1891 and known as Pithecanthropus and Australopithecus, was found in 1924 near the town of Kimberley in South Africa.

When they found the remains of a Man from the island of Java, the scientific community was initially configured quite skeptical. As for Peking man, scientists immediately recognized initially annotator scientific discoveries. Excavations from 1923 to 1927, during which were found the teeth, jaw and skull fragments of Peking man, only increased the confidence of scientists. During the second stage of the excavation, which was chaired by Chinese paleontologist Jan Junciana, also known in the Western world as Dr. C. C. Yang, was found more than 200 fragments of ancient human remains including 6 nearly completely preserved of the skull base. It was determined later that these remains belonged to more than 40 members of prehistoric human society. The second phase of excavations was carried out from 1928 to 1937 and was interrupted by the invasion of Japanese troops.

In addition to the remains of ancient people, the researchers found a large number of artifacts related to their habitats. Were found primitive tools and implements made of stone. One of the signs of habitation of ancient man in Zhoukoudian is the presence at the site of the deep layer of ash. It is believed that ancient people used fire for stone. In addition, in the ashes were found the charred bones of animals. This suggests that the meat of animals was subjected to heat treatment over an open fire.

Unfortunately, quite a significant proportion of finds of Zhoukoudian were lost forever. Among the remains were lost and 5 or 6 of the skull base. The German anthropologist Franz Weidenreich, who was Director of a research laboratory at Beijing medical College and studied Sinanthropus, was able to examine carefully and to describe in detail the remains of skulls before their disappearance, therefore, from a scientific point of view, these artifacts have not disappeared.


The appearance in the anthropological science of the phenomenon of Peking man sparked a lively discussion about the indisputability of determining the place of origin of mankind. According to the most widespread opinion on this issue, the first man appeared in Africa, and then its habitat has expanded to other areas of the Earth. The discovery of Peking man has divided paleontologists into two camps: some people still believed that the first humans appeared on Earth in East Africa, others began to believe that human life first originated in Asia, more specifically in China. This dispute is still ongoing.

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