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Peking Man (China)

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Peking Man Skull Fragments, American Natural History Museum

Peking Man Skull Fragments, American Natural History Museum

Ryan Somma
Definition:

The hominid skull cap known as Peking Man was found in 1927 in the site known as Locality 1, Longgushan Cave, Zhoukoudian by the Chinese archaeologist Pei Wenzhong.

During his long years of excavation there, Pei recovered 14 partial craniums, along with other body parts and stone tools. Peking Man was originally called Sinanthropus pekinsis, but this name has been discarded and Peking man is considered Homo erectus. Peking Man was the second and confirming Homo erectus skull found, the first being Java Man. Additional excavations have discovered upwards of 40 hominid individuals at Zhoukoudian.

Because some perceive 'Asian-like' aspects to the skull, Peking Man has been the focus of the Multiregional and Out of Africa debate about the origins of humans.

See the description of the Zhoukoudian site for more information.

Sources

Neves, Walter A. and Hector Pucciarelli 1998 The Zhoukoudian upper cave skull 101 as seen from the Americas. Journal of Human Evolution 34:219-222.

Tattersall, Ian and G. J. Sawyer 1996 The skull of "Sinanthropus" from Zhoukoudian, China: A new reconstruction. Journal of Human Evolution 31:311-314.

Wolpoff, Milford H. 1995 Wright for the wrong reasons. Journal of Human Evolution 29:185-188.

Wright, R. V. S. 1995 The Zhoukoudian Upper Cave skull 101 and multiregionalism. Journal of Human Evolution 29:181-183.

This glossary entry is part of the Dictionary of Archaeology.

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