Peking Man

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Peking Man
Conservation status: Fossil
Missing image
Zhoukoudian_Museum_July2004.jpg
Zhoukoudian Peking Man Site - the Museum (taken in July 2004). At the centre: what Peking Man looked like.


Zhoukoudian Peking Man Site - the Museum (taken in July 2004).
At the centre: what Peking Man looked like.
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Subphylum:Vertebrata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Primates
Family:Hominidae
Genus:Homo
Species:H. erectus
Subspecies:H. e. pekinensis

Template:Taxobox section trinomial simple

Peking Man (sometimes now called Beijing Man), also called Sinanthropus pekinensis (currently Homo erectus pekinensis), is an example of Homo erectus. The remains were first discovered in 1923-27 during excavations at Zhoukoudian (Choukoutien) near Beijing (Peking), China.

Excavations had begun at Zhoukoudian in 1921, investigating a number of caves in the limestone there. The remains of around fifteen prehistoric individuals were uncovered, with the first fragments being exposed in 1923. The finds have been dated from roughly 250,000-400,000 years ago in the Pleistocene.

The pre-war work was directed by Otto Zdansky, then Davidson Black and later by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Franz Weidenreich. The first specimens of H. erectus had been found in Java in 1891 by Eugene Dubois, with the Java Man initially being named Pithecanthropus erectus but later transferred to the genus Homo.

All the pre-war finds at Zhoukoudian were lost at sea during transit to the US, forcing subsequent researchers to rely on casts and existing writings from the original discoverers.

Contiguous finds of animal remains and evidence of fire and tool use and manufacture were used to support H. erectus being the first "faber" or tool-worker. This interpretation was challenged in the 1980s by Louis Binford and others.

The Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1987.

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