Peking Man skull

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Pei Wenzhong was a noted Chinese paleontologist, archaeologist and anthropologist. On December 2, 1929, Pei Wenzhong discovered the first "Peking Man" skull on Dragon Bone Hill in Zhoukoudian of Fangshan District in Beijing. This provided strong evidence for the theory of human evolution put forward in the previous century by Charles Darwin, and it has been described as the "most significant and appealing discovery in human history". The Science Society of China awarded him its Golden Award honoring his "brilliant achievement in paleoanthropological research."

On the upper part of Dragon Bone Hill, Peking Man lived in the caves hundreds of thousands of years ago. The site was first discovered in 1921 and six years later, archaeologists found several teeth and skull fragments, which as they decided came from Sinanthropus pekinensis (Beijing species of Chinese ape), popularly known as Peking Man.

Because of lack of evidence at the time, many people doubted whether it was a true species or not. When Pei Wenzhong discovered the first complete skull of Peking Man on December 2, 1929, Zhoukoudian began to attract worldwide attention.

This complete skull provides valuable information for human evolution research. It shows human characteristics and preserves the features of ouranopithecus. The shape of the skull has been attributed to juvenile male, aged eight or nine, with a brain size of 915 cc. Its brain size is far more than ouranopithecus and the modern ape. However, its sturdy brow ridges, sloping forehead and prognathus facial features are similar to its ancestor ouranopithecus.

Discovering the first complete skull of Peking Man is a milestone achievement of human evolutionary research.

In 1989, commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the uncovering of the first skull, Professor Huang Peinian of the University of Science and Technology of China used modern dating technology to determine that the find was around 578,000 years old.