Location of human fossils of the Early
County, Shaanxi Province
Period: Chenjiawo Site is 650,000 BP, while
Gongzhuling Site is 1,000,000 BP
Excavated in 1963
Significance: It has offered valuable
material objects for the study of human evolution.
Xi'an area was on of the birthplaces of ancient Chinese civilization. In
1936, the first fossil of Lantian Man was excavated in Lantian County, 50 kilometers southeast of
Xi'an. Lantian Man was a Homo
erectus of the early Paleolithic Age and was able to make and use rough stone
tools to obtain a simple means of living.
|Stone implement: tool (up, length 3.7 cm-4.6 cm); Fossil
cranium of the Lantian Man: (bottom, cranial capacity is 780
Lantian Man was found in two locations --
Gongwangling and Chenjiawo at Lantian in Shaanxi Province. Both fossils have been classified
as female. The remains are believed to be about 600,000 years old, or as old as
Java man, an early form of Homo erectus, and older than Peking Man, another
The Gongwangling fossils contained a skull,
nasal bones, a right maxilla and three molars, all belonging to an adult,
probably a female. The skull was low and flat with thick walls and a small brain
volume of 780 ml, indicating its resemblance to the small-brained Java man. The
frontal bone was slanted and the superciliary arches were strong. These
characteristics plus the protruding mouth indicate a rather primitive human
form. In Chenjiawo, a fossil of a mandible of an elderly woman was found. The
human fossils in both locations have been dated to the Middle Pleistocene Epoch.
Gongwangling Man lived about 800,000 - 750,000 years ago -- the oldest erect
human fossil ever found in the north of Asia, while Chenjiawo Man lived about 530,000 years ago.
From the human fossil layer, numerous stone
artifacts such as heavy points, choppers and scrapers were found. These objects
were made using simple percussion, and during the age of Lantian Man, there were
about forty-one types of wild animals.