Peking Man

Peking Man

"Peking Man", Homo erectus (was Sinanthropus pekinensis)

Between 1929 and 1937, 14 partial craniums, 11 lower jaws, many teeth, some skeletal bones and large numbers of stone tools were discovered in the Lower Cave at Locality 1 of the Peking Man site at Zhoukoudian, near Beijing, in China. Their age is estimated to be between 500,000 and 300,000 years old. (A number of fossils of modern humans were also discovered in the Upper Cave at the same site in 1933.) The most complete fossils, all of which were braincases or skullcaps, are:

Most of the study on these fossils was done by Davidson Black until his death in 1934. Franz Weidenreich replaced him and studied the fossils until leaving China in 1941. The original fossils disappeared in 1941 while being shipped to the United States for safety during World War II, but excellent casts and descriptions remain. Since the war, other erectus fossils have been found at this site and others in China.

The illustration above is of a reconstruction done by Franz Weidenreich, based on bones from at least four different individuals (none of the fossils were this complete).

Most creationists have considered the Peking Man fossils to be those of apes, or, even more improbably, monkeys, but in recent years the view of Lubenow that they were humans has been gaining ground.

Related links

Creationist arguments about Peking Man

Compare Peking Man with Homo erectus

Fossil Evidence for Human Evolution in China (lots of excellent material, including a page with pictures and descriptions of some of the Peking Man fossils)

Peking Man World Heritage Site

This page is part of the Fossil Hominids FAQ at the Archive.

Home Page | Species | Fossils | Creationism | Reading | References
Illustrations | What's New | Feedback | Search | Links | Fiction, 04/28/97
Copyright © Jim Foley || Email me