New brush for Peking Man cave

created: 2009-05-06

Excavations in a cave near Beijing where the fossilized bones of Peking Man were discovered will resume by July. Research at the site came to a halt with the Japanese invasion in 1937.

Experts will begin excavating the western side of the cave in Zhoukoudian during the 80th anniversary of the discovery of Peking Man's skull, the Beijing Evening News reported yesterday.

The project has been approved by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, a Chinese Academy of Sciences institution involved in paleontology and paleoanthropology, and the Administrative Office of Peking Man Relics.

The cave, at the northeastern side of Dragon Bone Hill, is the most important of all the sites at Zhoukoudian as more than 200 Peking Man fossils have been discovered there since 1921. The fragments belonged to 40 primitive human beings.

Later paleoanthropologists found 100,000 pieces including stone tools, 98 mammal fossils and the remains of 62 birds.

Peking Man is an early example of homo erectus, considered to be the ancestor species of humans. Fossils were discovered in 1923-27 during excavations at Zhoukoudian and have been estimated to be 500,000 years old.

The Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1987 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

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