Pek­ing Man Site at Zhouk­oudian

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Pek­ing Man Site at Zhouk­oudian is a Pleis­tocene ho­minid site on the North China Plain. It lies about 42 km south­west of Bei­jing and is at the junc­ture of the North China Plain and the Yan­shan Moun­tains. Ad­e­quate wa­ter sup­plies and nat­u­ral lime­stone caves in this area pro­vided an op­ti­mal sur­vival en­vi­ron­ment for early hu­mans.

Sci­en­tific work at the site is still un­der way. So far, an­cient hu­man fos­sils, cul­tural re­mains and an­i­mal fos­sils from 23 lo­cal­i­ties within the site dat­ing from 5 mil­lion years ago to 10,000 years ago have been dis­cov­ered by sci­en­tists. These in­clude the re­mains of Homo erec­tus pekinen­sis, who lived in the Mid­dle Pleis­tocene (700,000 to 200,000 years ago), ar­chaic Homo sapi­ens of about 200,000-100,000 years ago and Homo sapi­ens sapi­ens dat­ing back to 30,000 years ago. At the same time, fos­sils of hun­dreds of an­i­mal species, over 100,000 pieces of stone tools and ev­i­dence (in­clud­ing hearths, ash de­posits and burnt bones) of Pek­ing Man us­ing fire have been dis­cov­ered.

The dis­cov­ery of ho­minid re­mains at Zhouk­oudian and sub­se­quent re­search in the 1920s and 1930s ex­cited uni­ver­sal in­ter­est, over­throw­ing the chronol­ogy of hu­man his­tory that had been gen­er­ally ac­cepted up to that time. The ex­ca­va­tions and sci­en­tific work at the Zhouk­oudian site are thus of sig­nif­i­cant value in the his­tory of world ar­chae­ol­ogy, and have played an im­por­tant role in the world his­tory of science.

As the site of sig­nif­i­cant ho­minid re­mains dis­cov­ered in the Asian con­ti­nent demon­strat­ing an evo­lu­tion­ary cul­tural se­quence, Zhouk­oudian is of ma­jor im­por­tance within the world­wide con­text. It is not only an ex­cep­tional re­minder of the pre­his­toric hu­man so­ci­eties of the Asian con­ti­nent, but also il­lus­trates the process of hu­man evo­lu­tion, and is of sig­nif­i­cant value in the re­search and re­con­struc­tion of early hu­man his­tory.

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Pek­ing Man

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