Re: Peking Man

19 Feb 1995 17:49:38 GMT

John Henry Kieschnick (kiesch@leland.Stanford.EDU) wrote:

: A report from Reuters February 15, 1995, said that the Xinhua
: news agency had just announced that after a reassessment of the
: cave, Huang Peihua of the Chinese University of Science and Technology
: determined that Peking man lived between 585,000 to 250,000 years ago
: instead of 700,000 to 200,000 years ago.

: I've noticed that the dates previous posters have given vary greatly.
: Do these dates mean that Peking man lived continuously at the cave
: from 585,000 years ago to 250,000 years ago, or that the earliest
: possible date for the bones is 585,000 and the latest 250,000?

: --
: John Kieschnick
: Dept of Asian Languages

>From _The Journey From Eden_, by Brian M. Fagan (Thames and Hudson,
1990), p. 113:

"Zhoukoudian cave was originally an enormous cavern, measuring 460 ft
(140 m) across at its widest, and 130 ft (40 m) from floor to ceiling.
Recent estimates place its intermittent occupation between about 600,000
and 200,000 years ago, during a long period when the climate fluctuated
between being somewhat warmer than today and more temperate conditions
with cold winters and very hot summers. The cave may have been an
intermittent winter camp, for thick layers of ash with burned and charred
bone occur throughout the deposits from the very earliest times. These
ashy layers are up to 20 ft (6 m) thick, and are some of the earliest
good evidence for fire in prehistory - although some scholars believe
that even this ash may be from natural fires or other phenomena. The
bands of people that visited Zoukoudian were able hunters, preying off
bison, deer, and other animals."

(end of quote)

Other scholars have suggested that scavenging may be a more likely
explanation for the source of the large animal bones.

David Wasserman (
Curmudgeon-At-Large (
"If you can't do something well, learn to enjoy doing it badly."