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tatue of the Peking man from the entrance of the Zhoukoudian site. Source: Diego Tirira / CC BY-SA 2.0

Zhoukoudian Homo Erectus: Peking Man was an Evolutionary Dead-End (Video)

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Zhoukoudian, home to the renowned Peking Man, serves as a pivotal site for understanding the enigma of Homo erectus and its place in human evolution. This location, situated approximately 42 kilometers (26.09mi) southwest of Beijing, boasts an extensive fossil record, including 40 incomplete skeletons of Homo erectus, making it one of the most significant collections of its kind.

Dating back as far as 700,000 years ago, the discoveries at Zhoukoudian challenge prevailing notions about Homo erectus. The presence of tools dating back to 670,000 years ago suggests advanced cognitive abilities and technological innovation among these ancient hominins. Moreover, the coexistence of Homo erectus with other megafauna like elephants and rhinos indicates their successful adaptation to diverse environments.

Recent breakthroughs, such as the discovery of Yunxian Man 3, a remarkably well-preserved skull estimated to be around 1 million years old, highlight the continuous evolution and variability within the Homo erectus lineage. Additionally, evidence of ancient floods and the subsequent scavenging behaviors observed in animal remains at the site provide valuable insights into the ecological challenges faced by early humans. Despite the wealth of information uncovered at Zhoukoudian, questions remain regarding the relationship between Asian and African Homo erectus populations and their ultimate fate.

Top image: Statue of the Peking man from the entrance of the Zhoukoudian site. Source: Diego Tirira / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Robbie Mitchell



The statue in the first photo resembles the Olmec of So. America. Nobody knows where the Olmec came from or where they went, but they left giant heads in the jungle that look very much like the first photo in this article. Coincidence?


Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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