Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

'Peking Man' 200,000 years older than thought: study

The revised dating of Peking Man -- combined with other recent studies -- points to a separate migration across Eurasia from another region inhabited by homo erectus some 1.8 million years ago, in modern-day Georgia.
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) March 11, 2009
Barrel-chested "Peking Man," the collective name given to the treasure trove of homo erectus fossils found near the Chinese capital in the 1920s, is some 200,000 years older than previously thought, according to a study released Wednesday.

Using a new dating technique, Chinese and US researchers led by Guanjun Shen of Nanjing Normal University determined that the tool-making "erect man" lived in and around the caves of Zhoukoudian -- among the most highly-prized sites in the study of early humans -- as far back as 780,000 years ago.

The findings, published in the London-based science journal Nature, are sure to stir controversy among scientists, who have long debated the timing and routes of hominin migrations.

Up to now, the favoured theory was that a single exodus of homo erectus moved out of Africa some two million years ago, progressing across the Arabian Peninsula, the Indian subcontinent and coastal southeast Asia.

From there it was thought that some moved across land bridges during a glacial period to what later became the island of Java. The first erectus fossils were found on the Indonesian island in 1892, and have been definitively dated back some 1.6 million years.

Another group, the theory goes, made their way north, eventually settling in the region north and west Beijing.

But the revised dating of Peking Man -- combined with other recent studies -- points to a separate migration across Eurasia from another region inhabited by homo erectus some 1.8 million years ago, in modern-day Georgia.

"The actual distance is shorter if they went across the north, and the Dmanisi sight is about on the same latitude," said Russell Ciochon, a paleontologist at the University of Iowa who has worked extensively on homo erectus sites in Java.

A better understanding of early ecosystems also suggests a northern route, he said by phone. "It is harder for animals to shift longitude than latitude," he said.

Newly found fossils of extinct animals that lived only in tropical forests also suggest that much of southeast Asia -- the route along which homo erectus was thought to have travelled -- would have been impenetrable primal forest, said Ciochon.

Homo erectus' brain was about half the size of modern man's. It learned to make and use stone tools, notably a teardrop-shaped handaxe.

The species is thought to have survived up until about 30,000 years ago.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Swedish chimp plans ahead for attacks
Stockholm, Sweden (UPI) Mar 9, 2009
A chimpanzee in a Swedish zoo has been found to fashion concrete discs and calmly stockpile them for later assaults on visitors, astounding animal experts.

  • Building collapse kills 11 China rail workers: state media
  • Lessons From Hurricane Rita Not Practiced During Ike
  • Main Federal Disaster Relief Law Has Fallen Behind Modern Threat Levels
  • China still mum on number of students killed in quake

  • Senator says Obama driven on climate
  • Carbon tax only way to keep planet cool: Hansen
  • Climate scientists gather, and the news is not good
  • Gore optimistic for new climate deal in Copenhagen

  • Satellites track leaf beetle infestation
  • NASA presents a Webcam view of Earth
  • Satellite Spies On Tree-Eating Bugs
  • CALIPSO Finds Smoke At High Altitudes Down Under

  • Analysis: Russia and Iran may trade oil
  • Battery breakthrough promises phone, car revolution
  • Sweden unveils 'ambitious' clean energy strategy
  • Analysis: Venezuela state oil cuts costs

  • Malaria Immunity Trigger Found For Multiple Mosquito Species
  • Hong Kong bird tests positive for H5N1
  • Wild birds likely caused HK H5N1 outbreak: official
  • Update Presented On Disease In Pork Plant Workers

  • Animal-smuggling bust nets 72 people in Brazil
  • Cypriots kill a million migratory birds: conservationist
  • China 'moon bear' agony persists, despite successes
  • Protein Big Bang

  • Australian oil spill '10 times worse' than thought: official
  • Yellowstone Alga Detoxifies Arsenic
  • Remediation Technology Award For Geo-Seal And Land Science Technologies
  • Dust Deposited In Oceans May Carry Elements Toxic To Marine Algae

  • 'Peking Man' 200,000 years older than thought: study
  • Girl has six organs removed in surgery
  • Swedish chimp plans ahead for attacks
  • Mind-Reading Experiment Highlights How Brain Records Memories

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement