Homo erectus yuanmouensis


Yuanmou people, because the discovery site in Yunnan Yuanmou County, on the northwest of the village of upper Nabeng hillock, named “Yuanmou erectus”, English sculpture: Homo erectus yuan mouensis, commonly known as “Yuanmou people”. The word “Yuanmou” is from the Dai language, meaning “horse”.

Yuanmou Man

The fossilized teeth of Yuanmou Man were found in 1965 in the village of Shangnabeng, Yuanmou County, Yunnan Province, on May 1, 1965, and Yuanmou County is known as the “hometown of Yuanmou Man”. The difference is not more than 100,000 years before and after (some scholars believe that the age should not exceed 730,000 years, that is, the difference may be 600,000 to 500,000 years or later).

Fossil teeth

In the area of Yuanmou County, Yunnan Province, about 1.7 million years ago, the hazel and the forest was a subtropical grassland and forest, where the remnants of the 3rd period, such as the branch-horned deer and claw-footed animals, survived and reproduced first. Some time later, animals from the early Pleistocene such as the Sang’s hyena, Yunnan horse, and Shanxi axis deer appeared in the grasslands and forests. Most of them are herbivorous beasts. In order to live on, the Yuanmou people used crude stone tools to hunt them. The excavation of two teeth, stone tools, charcoal chips, and the subsequent excavation of a small number of stone artifacts, a large number of charcoal chips, and mammalian fossils in the same layer at the same site prove that they were primitive humans capable of making tools and using fire.

Discovery and characterization

The fossils of the Yuanmou people were discovered on May 1, 1965, in a brown clay layer on a hill northwest of Shangnabeng village.

The discovery site of Yuanmou people is at the edge of Yuanmou Basin, where the Cenozoic strata are well exposed and fossils are abundant. The fossils are found in the river-lake accumulation, which is divided into 4 sections and 28 layers from the bottom up. The lithology is mainly brown, brownish-yellow sand and gravel layer and silt sub-clay and clay soil layer. The hill where the fossils of Yuanmou people are located is surrounded by a washout ditch, 16 meters from east to west and 20 meters from north to south, covering an area of about 320 square meters, and the land where the fossils are found is about 4 meters above the ground, so the possibility that the fossils were washed from elsewhere can be excluded.

In early 1965, in order to cooperate with the construction of Panzhihua area in Sichuan and Chengkun Railway, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences sent Zhao Guoguang, Qian Fang, Pu Qingyu and other scholars to study the neotectonic movement in southwest China, and chose Yuanmou Basin as the focus of research. early April, the scholars went up to the vicinity of Nabeng village and started working, and found many fossils and geological phenomena. on May 1, Qian Fang and others went to the northwest of Nabeng village to look for Fossils, the site has long been subject to rain, fine sand and clay are mostly washed away, it is easy to dig out fossils. Around 5 p.m., Qian Fang found two fossils suspected of being human teeth, a dozen centimeters apart. One tooth crown exposed to the surface, the root of the tooth in the soil. The other one was all in the soil. Also unearthed were Yunnan horse tooth fossils, rodent mandibles, and other fossil fragments. The next day, these scholars came to the site to continue their excavation, trying to find other fossil material of Archaeopteryx, but with no luck. in September, after the scholars finished their fieldwork, they brought the fossil teeth back to Beijing and asked experts to identify them.

In February 1972, Hu Chengzhi of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences identified the fossils and announced the discovery, naming it “Homo erectus, a new subspecies of Yuanmou” according to the place where the fossils were found, or “Yuanmou Homo erectus” for short. Hu Chengzhi published the article “Fossilized teeth of Homo erectus found in Yuanmou, Yunnan” in Geology Journal, No. 1, 1973. This was also reported by Xinhua News Agency and People’s Daily.

From October to December 1973, the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences used archaeological methods to conduct a large-scale systematic excavation of the hill where the fossils of Yuanmou man are located. This excavation produced a detailed stratigraphic section of the site and found artificially beaten stone tools and charcoal chips, fossil mammals, fossil mollusks, and fossil spore powder in the nearby strata, but no new human fossils were found. This excavation determined the sedimentary nature of the stratum in which the fossils of Yuanmou Man are located, and based on the condition of the stratum sediments and the fossils of the accompanying animals, it was advocated that the age of Yuanmou Man is located in the Early Pleistocene.

In 1973 and 1974, Qian Fang and others visited the Yuanmou Basin again and collected paleomagnetic specimens of the Yuanmou Formation, and on July 25, 1976, the absolute geological age was determined to be about 1.7 million years ago by the paleomagnetic method. (Controversy arose later)

In 1983, Du Yaoxi of the Chinese History Museum made a stage summary of the historical status of Yuanmou people, and concluded that: Yuanmou people had a special position in the early stage of human society, the transition stage from southern apes to Homo erectus; Yuanmou people provided important clues for the formation of the yellow race; Yuanmou people had a unique stone tool culture, and learned to use fire earlier. In short, it is of great significance for the study of early Chinese history.


Fossilized teeth of Yuanmou people (hand-painted)

The fossils of Yuanmou Man include two upper medial incisors, one left and one right, belonging to the same adult male individual. They are deeply lithified and grayish in color, with their crowns intact and root endings missing, with small surface cracks filled with brown clay. The left incisor is 11.4 mm in length, 8.1 mm in width, and 11.2 mm in height. The right incisor is 11.5 mm in length, 8.6 mm in width, and 11.1 mm in height. Its cutting edge was abraded during life.

The two teeth were found to be stout, shovel-shaped, and relatively flat. The occlusal surfaces of the crowns of the teeth have a great degree of wear, as in the form of a blade. The base of the crown is swollen and thick with terminal extension, the labial surface is relatively flat, and the lingual surface has a very complex, slightly triangular pattern. The base of the lingual surface is nodularly raised, extending toward the crown of the tooth and splitting into three digits, the central digit is very long and the digits are arranged centrally on the half of the surface near the lateral side. The concave surface of the middle of the lingual surface is rough and has well-developed spatula-shaped tooth fossae. On the lingual surface, along the margins of the inner and outer sides, there are folded convex ribs, with the outer one being more elevated than the inner one. The root of the tooth is broken and should be quite stout, as presumed from the left half of the remains. It has obvious primitive nature.

The fossil teeth of Yuanmou man are characterized by the following features: the teeth are stout, with the crown expansion index reaching 141.9; the labial surface of the crown is flattened; the bottom nodule is well developed, occupying about half of the lingual surface; the lingual surface has a well-developed shovel-shaped tooth fossa; the cross section of the neck of the lingual root is elliptical in shape.

Compared with great apes (Pongidae, e.g., gorillas), the fossil teeth of Yuanmou people have similarities, such as a fan-shaped crown and a well-developed base nodule that occupies about half of the lingual surface, but otherwise differ greatly. Compared with the great apes (Gigantopithecus), there are very few similarities. Compared with Australopithecus, the southern apes lack a well-developed basal tubercle, have less developed incisor spatula, and have a more robust tooth root. Therefore, it is unlikely that Yuanmou people were apes.

In comparison with modern humans, some yellow ethnic groups have a lingual spatula shape, similar to that of the Yuanmou people. However, the base of the lingual surface of modern humans is obviously contracted, the structure is greatly simplified, and the base nodal ramus is greatly weakened, so the fossil teeth cannot be of late humans.

The incisors of Yuanmou Man and Beijing Man are the most similar, but there are also differences. They are similar in size, with a swollen crown base and a strongly convex base nodule that extends forward in a sloping pattern and splits into several finger-like projections. The concave surface of the middle part of the tongue has convex ribs on both sides. The differences are: the crown of the Yuanmou people is slightly triangular, while the Beijing people are slightly rectangular; the labial surface of the crown of the Yuanmou people, while the Beijing people are convex; the concave surface of the middle of the lingual surface of the crown of the Yuanmou people is rough, while the Beijing people are flat; the finger-like protrusions on the lingual surface of the Yuanmou people and the Beijing people are also quite different. In comparison, Yuanmou Man is a separate subspecies of Homo erectus, and is more primitive, representing the transition stage from southern apes to Homo erectus.

In 1984, an expedition from the Beijing Nature Museum found a section of human tibia in Guojiabao, 250 meters from the fossil site of Yuanmou Man, which was thought to belong to Yuanmou Man. This is a section of left tibia, except for the missing upper and lower ends, the backbone is fairly well preserved, 227.0 mm long, with a midpoint backbone circumference of 78.0 mm and a transverse diameter of 17.0 mm. The bone body is slender and should belong to a teenage individual. There are the following characteristics: obviously bi-tibial type; the anterior edge of the backbone is obviously rounded; there are shallow interosseous ridges; the bone joints of the backbone are thicker and the medullary cavity is smaller, etc. In summary, the tibiae of Yuanmou people have many characteristics of Neng Ren, which are different from those of modern people.

Stone tools and their culture

Stone tool model of Yuanmou man, collected in Shanghai Nature Museum

Yuanmou man scraper

Yuanmou people pointed tools

The cultural relics of Yuanmou people mainly include stone tools, animal bones with artificial traces and suspected artificial fire traces.

From 1973 to 1975, seven stone tools were excavated from the stratum where the fossils of Yuanmou people were found. Four of the better ones were scrapers, three of which were made of quartzite. One is a two-edged scraper, made of stone flakes, which may have been repaired by smashing, judging from the artificial processing marks on the stone tools. The second is a double-edged scraper, made of small stones, with processing traces on three sides, slightly rectangular, and should be processed in the opposite direction. The third is an end-edge scraper, also made of small stones, also made of compound processing.

In addition, ten stone tools were collected from the same site, three of which were in good condition and presumably washed out of the ground by rain, and were also considered to be stone tools of the Yuanmou people. Of the three collected stone tools: one is a stone core, pike shaped, 90 mm long, with a single table surface. The second is a stone flake, which is made of red sandstone, slightly smaller in length than in width, and with scattered striking points. The third is a pointed vessel, made of quartz rock flakes, with a single face on the left and two faces on the right, intersecting at the central axis, and is a positive-tipped pointed vessel.

It is difficult to infer the stone tool processing technology of the Yuanmou people from these stone tools alone. However, the following points can be learned: the Yuanmou people could make and repair stone tools by pounding, and they could make scrapers and pointed tools, and the size of the tools was not large.

Animal bones with artificial traces have been found in the fossiliferous layers of the Yuanmou people. One of them, 8.4 long, 3.1 wide, and 2.6 cm thick, has cut marks at both ends and may be associated with a bone tool.

Many charcoal fragments, often accompanied by mammalian fossils, were also found in the stratum where the Yuanmou man fossils were found. The larger ones are up to 15 mm in diameter, while the smaller ones are about 1 mm in diameter, distributed about 3 m above and below the boundary, in three layers, spaced 30-50 cm apart from each other. Several black bones were also found in the same layer, which were identified as possibly having been burned. These may all be traces of fire used by the Yuanmou people.

After years of excavation, 35 stone artifacts were found, 21 of which are better specimens.

Academic controversy

Dating issues

There are different views on the geological age and absolute age of the fossils of Yuanmou people.

In 1976, the Institute of Geomechanics of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, using the paleomagnetic method, concluded that the stratigraphy of the Yuanmou Group spans two polar periods, Matuyama and Gauss, and that the stratigraphy of the Yuanmou fossils was dated to 1.7 million ± 100,000 years ago. And based on the results of paleomagnetic dating of the Yuanmou Formation, it was concluded that an updated geomagnetic polarity chronology was needed, and the Yuanmou people were dated between 1.63 million and 1.64 million years old with an error range of no more than 100,000 years. In 1998, Huang Peihua used fossil mammalian teeth unearthed from the same stratum and, in collaboration with the Quaternary Dating Research Center of the Australian National University, used electron spin resonance to determine that it was 1.6 to 1.1 million years ago, supporting that Yuanmou Man belonged to early Homo erectus. In 2005, based on the results of various dating methods, Qian Fang integrated fossil research and stratigraphic analysis, and concluded that Yuanmou Man was of Early Pleistocene age, 1.7 million years ago.

Another opinion is that it belongs to the Middle Pleistocene. According to the fossil layers of the Yuanmou Group, the proportion of extinct species in the fourth section is higher than that in the third section, which is not common sense, and it is presumed that the stratigraphy was disturbed by geological movements. Moreover, the evidence of Yunnan horse dating alone is not sufficient, and the paleomagnetic dating results need to be reinterpreted. The paleomagnetic dating of the layer where the fossil Yuanmou man is located should not be more than 730,000 years old, and may be 600,000 to 500,000 years old or later. This statement was refuted by Qian Fang, who argued that its stratigraphic delineation was different and the fossils were incorrectly identified.

Culturally, the study of the stone tools found indicates that the Yuanmou people lived in the early Paleolithic period.

If the Yuanmou people are dated to 1.7 million years ago, then the Yuanmou people are the earliest known ancient humans in China. Since this is the original dating of the Yuanmou people, some textbooks, popular books and encyclopedias hold this statement. If the age of the Yuanmou people is about 600,000 years old, then the Yuanmou people would be later than the Lantian people of Gongwangling.

Living Environment

The living environment of the Yuanmou people is inferred from the coexisting fossils of plants and animals. The animal fossils in the third and fourth sections of the Yuanmou Man strata are generally called the Yuanmou Fauna, and are considered to be the animals that lived in symbiosis with the Yuanmou Man.

The fossil mammals that were symbiotic with the Yuanmou people include Hystrix subcristata, Canis yuanmouensis, Equus yunnanensis, Nestoritherium sp. sinensis), Shanxi Axis deer (Axis shansius), and more than 30 other species. Most of them are extinct species, some are remnants of the Pliocene, and most are locally common species of the Early Pleistocene. If we examine by living environment, Yunnan horses and other animals live in grasslands, fine muntjac (Metacervulus attennatus) and lake muntjac (Muntiacus lacustris) live in tropical rainforests, bamboo rats (Rhizonmys sp.) and complex-toothed mimosas (Ochotonoides complicidens) (Megaterium nihowanensin) and others live in the forest.

According to the analysis of plant spores, trees are mainly Pinus plants, but also Alnus and Ulmus. There are more herbaceous plants. The spore pollen assemblage of Yuanmou people’s local layer is 33.3% for Pinus, 13% for Alnus, and 40% for herbaceous plants.

In summary, the Yuanmou people live in a forest-steppe environment, which is relatively mild and moist, and cooler than now. There are mixed coniferous and broad forests growing in the mountains, weedy plains at the foot of the mountains, and small-leaved broad-leaved forests along the water’s edge, where various animals are found. The Yuanmou people probably lived a mobile life along the riverbank or lake shore.

Subsequent discoveries

New results

Investigation and excavation of the “earliest human” and its close relatives in China. The fossils obtained will be studied in depth in order to solve the problem of the origin and evolution of early man, thus contributing to the clarification of the debate on the time and place of the origin of man today.

Yuanmou, Yunnan, is the focus area of this climbing project. Previous preliminary studies by scholars have shown that there seem to be two types of large and small Yuanmou archaeopteryx teeth. And whether these two types represent differences between the two biological species, or just sex differences is not very clear. This greatly hinders the understanding of the overall characteristics of the Yuanmou archaeopteryx, and indeed the position of the entire Yunnan archaeopteryx in evolutionary classification and its role in the origin and evolution of early humans. After the start of the Climbing Project, field excavations have yielded a number of new fossil materials. Among the paleo-ape fossils found in Yuanmou, fossil teeth account for the majority. Based on these findings, substantial progress has been made in the study of the teeth of the Yuanmou archaeopteryx, which was published in Science Bulletin 23 in 1999 by Liu Wu et al.

The research material of this new result includes all the fossil teeth, 1266 in total, excavated and collected in the Yuanmou Basin since the first discovery of archaeopteryx fossils in 1986 until the end of 1998. Due to the large sample size, the data distribution range of each measurement item can be accurately reflected. Liu Wu et al. used statistical analysis methods such as histogram and normal curve analysis, bivariate two-dimensional coordinate distribution, factor analysis, coefficient of variation analysis, and canine tooth area proportion coefficient analysis to examine the distribution pattern of tooth size and dimension of Yuanmou archaeopteryx, and the relationship between Yuanmou archaeopteryx and extant great apes and Kaiyuan and Lufeng archaeopteryx. This is the first systematic and standardized statistical analysis of dental measurements since the discovery of the fossils of Yuanmou archaeopteryx more than ten years ago. Histograms, two-dimensional coordinate distributions and factor analyses revealed a large range of variation in tooth size in the Yuanmou archaeopteryx, with most teeth showing two obvious size types. However, whether this variation in tooth size of Yuanmou archaeopteryx is beyond the range of variation within a single species of Kaiyuan and Lufeng archaeopteryx and extant great apes is a question that needs further clarification. This question relates to whether the archaeopteryx fossils found in Yuanmou represent one biological species or two biological species. To this end, a coefficient of variation analysis was used to compare the degree of variation in tooth size of the Yuanmou archaeopteryx with that of other Miocene archaeopteryx and extant great apes. Among the coefficients of variation calculated for the upper and lower jaw teeth of the Yuanmou archaeopteryx, except for the upper and lower jaw canines, the coefficients of variation for the remaining teeth of the Yuanmou archaeopteryx were in or close to the distribution range of the coefficients of variation for the teeth of the Lufeng archaeopteryx and the extant great apes. Since the academic community basically tends to believe that the Lufeng Archaeopteryx discovered until 1987 represents a single species (Rukang Wu, 1987), the comparative coefficient of variation analysis in this paper strongly suggests that the variation in tooth size of the Yuanmou Archaeopteryx has probably not yet reached the interspecific range of variation.

Fossil archaeopteryx

Since the discovery of fossilized forest archaeopteryx teeth in Kaiyuan, Yunnan in 1956, archaeopteryx fossils have been found in Lufeng, Yuanmou and Baoshan in Yunnan. The evolutionary taxonomic status of these archaeopteryxes and their interrelationships with each other have been of interest to academics. A comparison of the dentition measurements of the Yuanmou archaeopteryx with those of the published Lufeng and Kaiyuan archaeopteryxes is presented in an attempt to provide some evidence on tooth size to address this question. The comparison of the distribution of dental area data between the Yuanmou and Lufeng and Kaiyuan palaeo-apes shows that the dental dimensions of the palaeo-apes found at these three sites in Yunnan are very close, with the Yuanmou and Kaiyuan palaeo-apes being closer to each other in terms of dental data. The tooth size of the Lufeng archaeopteryx is slightly larger than that of the Yuanmou and Kaiyuan archaeopteryx.

This study reveals the distribution of tooth size in the Yuanmou Archaeopteryx and compares some specific features with those of the Lufeng Archaeopteryx, Kaiyuan Archaeopteryx and extant great apes found in Yunnan.

Subsequent findings

(I) The archaeopteryx found in Yuanmou was determined to represent a biological species

In the study of early humans and fossil higher primates, especially Tertiary paleosauropods, one of the debates is whether the differences and variation in morphological features and measurements presented by fossil material found in the same locality are taxonomic differences or sex differences. In the early stages of fossil research on the Lufeng Archaeopteryx, it was suggested that the fossils found in Lufeng might represent two species. In subsequent studies, most scholars gradually tended to support that the Lufeng archaeopteryx was a biological species composed of highly sexually distinct individuals in morphological characters, and the analysis and study of dental measurements played an important role in this process. It has been noted early in the study of fossilized Yuanmou archaeopteryx that the fossilized teeth of Yuanmou archaeopteryx can be divided into two types according to size and morphology, and it has been proposed that these two types are similar to the female and male of Lufeng archaeopteryx, respectively, but at the same time, it has been pointed out that there are also obvious differences between the two types of large and small Yuanmou archaeopteryx, some of which cannot be explained by sex differences and may represent two different types of archaeopteryx (Pilbeam, 1997). This analysis of the dentition data of the Yuanmou archaeopteryx showed that most of the teeth showed a bimodal distribution between the two size types, and the range of variation in the dental data was large. The results of the coefficient of variation comparisons also showed that the coefficients of variation of most of the dentition data of Yuanmou archaeopteryx were in or close to the distribution of the coefficients of variation of tooth size of Lufeng archaeopteryx and extant great apes, which represent a single biological species. Therefore, I propose that the archaeopteryx found in Yuanmou represents a single biological species, and the two types of variation in tooth size are a reflection of sexual dimorphism, indicating that the archaeopteryx living in the Yuanmou area at that time was composed of a population with significant sexual differences in morphological characteristics.

(II) The relationship between the Yuanmou archaeopteryx and extant great apes and the Kaiyuan and Lufeng archaeopteryxes was explored

Since the discovery of archaeopteryx tooth fossils in Xiaolongtan, Kaiyuan, Yunnan in 1956, archaeopteryx fossils have been found in Lufeng, Yuanmou, and Baoshan in Yunnan successively. The relationship between these archaeopteryxes, their phylogenetic status and their role in the origin of early humans have been the focus of academic attention in China and abroad. Among them, the Yuanmou paleosauropus is the most abundant Tertiary paleosauropus fossil material found in China and Asia after Lufeng. In the past ten years or so, scholars have done some research on this material and discussed the above issues. However, many questions concerning the taxonomic and evolutionary status of the Yuanmou archaeopteryx are still not clear, and a lot of basic research work is needed to clarify and resolve these questions. In 1999, Liu Wu et al. compared the similarities and differences in dental measurements between the archaeopteryx found in Yuanmou and the extant great apes, as well as the Kaiyuan and Lufeng archaeopteryx, in an attempt to investigate the relationship between the Yuanmou archaeopteryx and the extant great apes, as well as the Kaiyuan and Lufeng archaeopteryx. The results suggest that the Yuanmou archaeopteryx is close to the Kaiyuan and Lufeng archaeopteryx in terms of phylogeographic classification, while it is more distant from the extant great apes such as gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans. The analysis of the relationship between the Yuanmou palaeo-ape and the Kaiyuan and Lufeng palaeo-apes suggested that the dimensions of the teeth of the palaeo-apes in Yuanmou, Lufeng and Kaiyuan were relatively close, with Yuanmou being closer to Kaiyuan. The results of the statistical analysis and comparison of the dentition measurements of the Yuanmou palaeo-ape suggest that the Middle Eocene palaeo-apes living in different regions of Yunnan may have been close in systematic classification.

This study is the most comprehensive and detailed basic data accumulation work conducted in the past decade or so since the discovery of the Yuanmou archaeopteryx. This work will undoubtedly play an important role in future research to thoroughly clarify the systematic status of the archaeopteryx found in Yunnan, China, and its role in early human origins.

Conservation of the site

In 1982, the State Council of China declared the site of the Yuanmou Apes as the second batch of national key cultural relics protection units, with a protected area of about 768.15 mu.

At present, there is Yuanmou Man Exhibition Hall, which is located in Longchuan Street, Yuanmou County, covering an area of 6 acres, started construction in 1987 and opened on September 25, 1989, with a collection of more than 1,000 pieces of cultural relics. The exhibition hall is divided into three parts: “human origins”, “Yuanmou archaeopteryx” and “Yuanmou prehistoric culture”, in addition to the display of knowledge about Yuanmou people-related cultural relics, there are other relics of archaeopteryx and archaeopteryx found in Yunnan. In addition to the knowledge about the Yuanmou people, there are also some other relics of ancient apes and humans found in Yunnan. The museum is mainly guided by dialectical materialism and historical materialism, with exhibits explaining “the evolution of man from apes” and “the process of human social development”. In 2009, the National Cultural Relics Bureau of China announced the Yuanmou Man Exhibition Hall as a national tertiary museum.


International Impact

February 22, 1972

On the special day of U.S. President Richard Nixon’s visit to China, Xinhua News Agency released the major news of the discovery of “Yuanmou Man” to the whole world, and People’s Daily reported, “This is another important discovery after the Beijing Apes and Lantian Apes found in northern China, which is of great scientific value for further research on ancient man and the Quaternary geology in southwest China, has important scientific value.” This major discovery has attracted widespread attention from academics at home and abroad.

As early as 1903

Japanese scholar Yokoyama Watabiro wrote a book with the record of mammal fossils found in Yuanmou; from the winter of 1926 to the beginning of 1927, the American Museum of Nature Central Asia expedition in Yunnan, Mr. Grandi found fossilized skeletons of horses, elephants and rhinoceroses in the eastern side of Yuanmou Basin, ten miles south of Majie, and based on the fossils put this fauna and the stratigraphic age of fossil output in the Early Pleistocene, and foresaw the possibility of preserving the remains of early human fossils.


Many famous geologists and paleontologists at home and abroad, such as Nelson, Grand Order, Klettner, Bian Minian, Colbert, Hu Chengzhi, Pei Wenzhong, Qiu Zhanxiang, Zhou Mingzhen, etc., conducted many expeditions to study the Yuanmou Basin and the Quaternary of the Yuanmou Group strata, during which glacial remains were found in Yuanmou, which were determined to be the only representative early Pleistocene geology in South China. During the expedition, many fossil sites were found, which are called “Majie Ma Fossil Formation”.

Spring 1976

At the “Commemoration of the Centenary of Engels’ “The Role of Labor in the Transformation from Ape to Man”, Qian Fang and Ma Shenhua, on behalf of the Institute of Geomechanics of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, announced that the paleomagnetic method had dated the Yuanmou Man to 1.7±100 million years; Cheng Guoliang, on behalf of the Institute of Geology, announced that the same method had dated the Yuanmou Man to 1.63-1.64 million years. On behalf of the Institute of Geology, Cheng Guoliang announced that the same method was used to date the survival of the Yuanmou people to 1.63-1.64 million years; on behalf of the Guiyang Institute of Geochemistry, Liu Dongsheng said that the data of the Institute on the survival of the Yuanmou people was basically the same as the results of the above-mentioned units. At the end of July of the same year, Xinhua News Agency and People’s Daily published the important news that the survival date of Yuanmou Man was about 1.7 million years ago. The discovery of “Yuanmou Man” has advanced the history of human beings in China by more than 1 million years, showing that Yunnan in the Yangtze River valley was the key and core region of human origin and development, and has strongly challenged the Afrocentric theory of human origin and development, providing strong scientific support for the pluricentric theory of human origin and development.

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