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the Dawn of Civilization => China & the Asian Empires => Topic started by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 01:40:17 pm



Title: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 01:40:17 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ef/China_100.78713E_35.63718N.jpg/800px-China_100.78713E_35.63718N.jpg)


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 01:49:21 pm









                                                C H I N A   -   P R E H I S T O R Y






What is now China was inhabited by Homo erectus more than a million years ago.

Recent study shows that the stone tools found at Xiaochangliang site are magnetostratigraphically dated 1.36 million years ago.



The archaeological site of Xihoudu (西侯渡) in Shanxi Province is the earliest recorded use of fire by

Homo erectus, which is dated 1.27 million years ago.



The excavations at Yuanmou and later Lantian show early habitation. Perhaps the most famous specimen of Homo erectus found in China is the so-called Peking Man discovered in 1965.

Three pottery pieces were unearthed at Liyuzui Cave in Liuzhou, Guangxi Province dated 16,500 and 19,000 BC.






Neolithic



The Neolithic age in China can be traced back as early as 10,000 BC.

Early evidence for proto-Chinese millet agriculture is carbon-dated to about 7,000 BC.

The Peiligang culture of Xinzheng county, Henan was excavated in 1977.

With agriculture came increased population, the ability to store and redistribute crops, and to support specialist craftsmen and administrators.

In late Neolithic times, the Yellow River valley began to establish itself as a cultural center, where the first villages were founded; the most archaeologically significant of those was found at Banpo, Xi'an.

The Yellow River was so named because of the loess that would build up on the bank and down in the earth then it would sink creating a yellowish tint to the water.

The early history of China is complicated by the lack of a written language during this period coupled with the existence of documents from later time periods attempting to describe events that occurred several centuries before.

The problem in some sense stems from centuries of introspection on the part of the Chinese people which has blurred the distinction between fact and fiction in regards to this early history.

By 7000 BC, the Chinese were farming millet, giving rise to the Jiahu culture.

At Damaidi in Ningxia, 3,172 cliff carvings dating to 6,000-5,000 BC have been discovered "featuring 8,453 individual characters such as the sun, moon, stars, gods and scenes of hunting or grazing." These pictographs are reputed to be similar to the earliest characters confirmed to be written Chinese.

Later Yangshao culture was superseded by the Longshan culture around 2500 BC.



RETRIEVED FROM

wikipedia.org


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 02:02:44 pm










                        New evidence challenges hypothesis of modern human origins



 
 2005-04-27 17:00:01

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-04/27/content_2884681.htm


    WUHAN, April 27 (Xinhuanet) -- Chinese archaeologists said newly found evidence proves that a valley of Qingjiang River, a tributary on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, might be one of the regions where Homo sapiens, or modern man, originated.

    The finding challenges the "Out-of-Africa" hypothesis of modern human origins, according to which about 100,000 years ago modern humans originated in Africa, migrated to other continents, and replaced populations of archaic humans across the globe.

    The finding comes from a large-scale excavation launched in the Qingjiang River Valley in 1980s when construction began on a range of hydro power stations on the Qingjiang River, a fellow researcher with the Hubei Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology.
 
                    (http://www.china-tour.cn/images/China_Map_Guide/Hubei_Province_Map.jpg)

    Archaeologists discovered three human tooth fossils in one mountain cave in Mazhaping Village, in the Gaoping Township of Jianshi County, western Hubei Province, and found pieces of lithictechnology and evidence of fire usage in Minor Cave in Banxia. There were similar findings in Nianyu Mountain and in Zhadong Cavein Banxia, all in Changyang Prefecture of the Qiangjiang River Valley.

                      (http://www.chinapage.org/calligraphy/sushi/chinamap02.gif)

    A special research panel named the Jianshi Man research team has been set up to analyze the findings.

    Zheng Shaohua, a member of the Jianshi man research team from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, confirmed the tooth fossils belonged to humans dating back between 2.15 and 1.95 million years ago.

    The archaeologists also found fossils of bone implements in the cultural strata at the ruins where the human tooth fossils were discovered.

    The fossilized bone implements bear traces of human beating, testifying that humans, not apes, lived inside the mountain cave, said Qiu Zhanxiang, another member on the Jianshi Man research team.

    The pieces of lithic technology and traces of human fire usage found in Minor Cave in Banxia were said to date back 130,000 years, the ruins of human fire usage in Nianyu Mountain were dated as 120,000 years or 90,000 years old, while pieces of lithic technology and traces of fire usage found in Zhadong Cave in Banxia, were dated as 27,000 years old, said Professor Zheng.

    Before these latest archaeological findings, Chinese archaeologists had found fossils of what is now known as ChangyangMan in 1957 under the leadership of renowned Chinese paleoanthropologist Jia Lanpo. Changyang Man represents early Homosapiens dating back 200,000 years.

    The latest archaeological findings together with the earlier discovery of Changyang Man all prove there was continuity in Homo sapiens' development in China, said Liu Qingzhu, head of the Archaeology Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

    "They are also of great significance to research on Paleolithic era in China and East Asia, and theories regarding multiple origins of mankind," said Liu. 


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 02:04:45 pm



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    Early Humans In China One Million Years Ago






« on: August 06, 2007, 03:29:48 am » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Early Humans In China One Million Years Ago

Science Daily — Chronology and adaptability of early humans in different paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental settings are important topics in the study of

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
China houses several early-human (Paleolithic) archaeological sites along the Nihewan Basin near Mongolia, some with artifacts that date back about 1 million years ago. Deng et al. analyze one specific locality in the Nihewan Basin, called the Feiliang Paleolithic Site, where several stone artifacts and mammalian bone fragments have been found buried in basin silts.

By analyzing remnant magnetizations of basin silt layers and comparing these data with charts of known magnetic reversals, the authors identify that the artifact layer was deposited about 1.2 million years ago, just prior to a major climate transition that occurred during the mid-Pleistocene. The transition brought increased climate variability to the region.

This finding, coupled with other studies, indicates a prominent early human presence in the high northern latitudes of East Asia. The authors indicate that further studies on the artifacts themselves could reveal the manner in which humans weathered these climate shifts.






Title: Magnetochronology of the Feiliang Paleolithic site in the Nihewan Basin and implications for early human adaptability to high northern latitudes in East Asia

Authors: Chenglong Deng, Caicai Liu, Hong Ao, Yongxin Pan and Rixiang Zhu: Paleomagnetism and Geochronology Laboratory, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China;

Fei Xie: Hebei Province Institute of Cultural Relics, Shijiazhuang, China.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2007GL030335, 2007

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070801174826.htm


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 02:06:49 pm



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                       Residential site of prehistoric civilization unearthed





« on: August 11, 2007, 06:39:18 am » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Residential site of prehistoric civilization unearthed
 + - 15:26, August 10, 2007

 

 
According to the "Oriental Morning Post", archaeologists recently excavated residential sites of human settlement in early New Stone Age (9,000 to 8,000 years ago) in the Peiligang Cultural layer of Tang Period at 13 kilometers south Xinzheng City, Henan Province of China. It is not only the first time for China to excavate large-area relic of prehistorically civilization, but also is the first time to discover "double-room" habitat (a large and a small).

Zhang Songlin, director of the Zhengzhou Cultural Relics and Archaeological Institute said that the unearthed relic site include 60 houses sites, covering more than 6,000 square meters. It is divided into three groups, about 20 for each. At the regional center of each group, there is the so-called "double-room" house, which was most likely belonging to important figures in the ethnic groups.



By People's Daily Online
 
http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90782/90874/6236724.html


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 02:12:57 pm



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    Prehistoric bronze, ceramic artefacts found in Khanh Hoa
« on: September 01, 2007, 01:26:25 pm » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Last updated: 17:2 - August 27, 2007
 
 


                              Prehistoric bronze, ceramic artefacts found in Khanh Hoa
 
 




Recent excavations at the Vinh Yen relic site in Van Thanh commune, southern Khanh Hoa province, have revealed numerous artefacts that prove the site was a ceramic workshop dating back an estimated 3,000 years.

At the excavation site, archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Khanh Hoa Museum found more than 120,000 pieces of ceramic objects including jars, pots and bowls, and about 402 tools used in ceramics and bronze casting.

They also unearthed eight graves that contained bronze, stone and ceramic objects.

This is the first time metal casting tools have been found in the southern central region.


 (VNA)


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 02:15:37 pm








                      STUDY POINTS TO LARGER ROLE OF ASIAN ANCESTORS IN EVOLUTION





 Mon Aug 6, 2008
 CHICAGO
(AFP)

- A new analysis of the dental fossils of human ancestors suggests that Asian populations played a larger role than Africans in colonizing Europe millions of years ago, said a study released Monday.
 
The findings challenge the prevailing "Out of Africa" theory, which holds that anatomically modern man first arose from one point in Africa and fanned out to conquer the globe, and bolsters the notion that Homo sapiens evolved from different populations in different parts of the globe.

The "Out of Africa" scenario has been underpinned since 1987 by genetic studies based mainly on the rate of mutations in mitochondrial DNA, a cell material inherited from the maternal line of ancestry.

But for this study, European researchers opted to study the tooth fossil record of modern man's ancestors because of their high component of genetic expression.

The investigators examined the shapes of more than 5,000 teeth from human ancestors from Africa, Asia and Europe dating back millions of years.

They found that European teeth had more Asian features than African ones.

They also noted that the continuity of the Eurasian dental pattern from the Early Pleistocene until the appearance of Upper Pleistocene Neanderthals suggests that the evolutionary courses of the Eurasian and African continents were relatively independent for a long period.

"The history of human populations in Eurasia may not have been the result of a few high-impact replacement waves of dispersals from Africa, but a much more complex puzzle of dispersals and contacts among populations within and outside continents," the researchers wrote.

"In the light of these results, we propose that Asia has played an important role in the colonization of Europe, and that future studies on this issue are obliged to pay serious attention to the 'unknown' continent."

The paper was written by researchers at Spain's national center for research into human evolution in Burgos and appears in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 02:17:16 pm








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    Re: STUDY Points to Larger Role of Asian Ancestors in Evolution






« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2007, 11:07:42 pm » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A collection of fossils is pictured in Nairobi's National museum, in September 2006.

A new analysis of the dental fossils of human ancestors suggests that Asian populations played a larger role than Africans in colonizing Europe millions of years ago, according to a study, released on Monday.



(AFP
/File/
Lillian Omariba)


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 02:23:03 pm




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    Stone Age rice farms found in China
« on: September 28, 2007, 02:05:48 am » Quote 

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                                          Stone Age rice farms found in China



                       Scientists find evidence of mass rice cultivation 7,700 years ago.






Click-2-Listen
LOS ANGELES TIMES


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Stone Age Chinese began cultivating rice more than 7,700 years ago by burning trees in coastal marshes and building dams to hold back seawater, converting the marshes to rice paddies that would support growth of the high-yield cereal grain, researchers plan to report today.

New analysis of sediments from the site of Kuahuqiao at the mouth of the Yangtze River near Hangzhou provides the earliest evidence in China of such large-scale environmental manipulation, experts said.


"It shows people were changing the environment, actively manipulating the system, and well on their way to having an agricultural way of life," said University of Toronto anthropologist Gary Crawford, who wasn't involved in the study.

Using data from the site, it is possible to extrapolate a timeline back to the first attempts at domesticating rice, which would have occurred about 10,000 years ago, said archaeologist Li Liu of La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia, who was also not involved. That is contemporary with the development of agriculture in the Middle East.

The finding, being published today in the journal Nature, also sheds new light on an ongoing controversy in archaeology: How long did it take for crops to become fully domesticated?

The evidence from China, and new finds from elsewhere, indicate that the process took much longer than researchers previously thought, said archaeobotanist Dolores Piperno of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

Nonetheless, she said, there is now "little doubt that by 7,700 years ago, these people were dedicated rice farmers. ... I think people


http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/world/09/27/0927rice.html


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 02:26:23 pm









                        New evidence challenges hypothesis of modern human origins



 
 

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-04/27/content_2884681.htm


    WUHAN, April 27 (Xinhuanet) -- Chinese archaeologists said newly found evidence proves that a valley of Qingjiang River, a tributary on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, might be one of the regions where Homo sapiens, or modern man, originated.

    The finding challenges the "Out-of-Africa" hypothesis of modern human origins, according to which about 100,000 years ago modern humans originated in Africa, migrated to other continents, and replaced populations of archaic humans across the globe.

    The finding comes from a large-scale excavation launched in the Qingjiang River Valley in 1980s when construction began on a range of hydro power stations on the Qingjiang River, a fellow researcher with the Hubei Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology.

(http://www.china-tour.cn/images/China_Map_Guide/Hubei_Province_Map.jpg)
                   
Archaeologists discovered three human tooth fossils in one mountain cave in Mazhaping Village, in the Gaoping Township of Jianshi County, western Hubei Province, and found pieces of lithictechnology and evidence of fire usage in Minor Cave in Banxia. There were similar findings in Nianyu Mountain and in Zhadong Cavein Banxia, all in Changyang Prefecture of the Qiangjiang River Valley.

                     

    A special research panel named the Jianshi Man research team has been set up to analyze the findings.

    Zheng Shaohua, a member of the Jianshi man research team from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, confirmed the tooth fossils belonged to humans dating back between 2.15 and 1.95 million years ago.

    The archaeologists also found fossils of bone implements in the cultural strata at the ruins where the human tooth fossils were discovered.

    The fossilized bone implements bear traces of human beating, testifying that humans, not apes, lived inside the mountain cave, said Qiu Zhanxiang, another member on the Jianshi Man research team.

    The pieces of lithic technology and traces of human fire usage found in Minor Cave in Banxia were said to date back 130,000 years, the ruins of human fire usage in Nianyu Mountain were dated as 120,000 years or 90,000 years old, while pieces of lithic technology and traces of fire usage found in Zhadong Cave in Banxia, were dated as 27,000 years old, said Professor Zheng.

    Before these latest archaeological findings, Chinese archaeologists had found fossils of what is now known as ChangyangMan in 1957 under the leadership of renowned Chinese paleoanthropologist Jia Lanpo. Changyang Man represents early Homosapiens dating back 200,000 years.

(http://www.chinapage.org/calligraphy/sushi/chinamap02.gif)   

The latest archaeological findings together with the earlier discovery of Changyang Man all prove there was continuity in Homo sapiens' development in China, said Liu Qingzhu, head of the Archaeology Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

    "They are also of great significance to research on Paleolithic era in China and East Asia, and theories regarding multiple origins of mankind," said Liu.   


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 02:30:32 pm




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Posts: 34



    Chinese Scientists Conclude Wushan Man Is Oldest Human Fossil In China
« on: November 23, 2007, 11:51:47 pm » Quote 

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                 Chinese Scientists Conclude Wushan Man Is Oldest Human Fossil In China






November 13, 2007
Windsor Genova -
AHN News Writer
Beijing, China
(AHN)

- Chinese archeologists have concluded that the two million years old human fossils found in Wushan County, Chongqing municipality from 1985 to 1988 belong to the earliest human species in China.

The lower jawbone fragment, an incisor and more than 230 pieces of stone tools of the so-called Wushan Man pre-dated the fossils of the Yuanmou Man by 300,000 years, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

The Yuanmou Man was discovered in southwestern Yunnan Province in the 1960s. It was previously regarded as the oldest human species found in China.

Huang Wanbo, a professor with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said various dating techniques corroborated earlier findings that the geological layer containing the Wushan Man fossils and artifacts is two to 2.04 million years old.

Huang said his team of experts dug up and examined more stone tools and animal fossils at the Longgupo Site in Wushan Mountain during excavations from 1997 to 1999 and 2003 to 2006. British, Canadian and French experts joined Chinese archeologists in the diggings.

The professor said more diggings at Longgupo will be done next year to find more evidence.




http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7009149599


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 02:32:26 pm






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    Archaeologists excavate shell mound site in Guangxi
« on: December 06, 2007, 02:17:43 am » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(http://images.china.cn/images1/200712/414841.jpg)

Archaeologists excavate shell mound site in Guangxi 

 

Since October this year, Chinese archaeologists have been busy excavating a Neolithic shell mound site in city Chongzuo of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwest China.




Workers toil on the excavation of a Neolithic site in Chongzuo, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwest China, on Tuesday, December 4, 2007.

To date, archaeologists have unearthed numerous pieces of stone, bone and mussel implements, ornamental items and the remains of plants and animals in over 10 pre-historic tombs located 1.6 meters under the ground.

Furthermore, they found a well preserved human being skeleton at the excavation site. Experts presume that the site belongs to the middle or late Neolithic era, about 6,000 years ago.


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 03:02:14 pm







               (http://images.china.cn/images1/200712/414842.jpg)








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    Re: Archaeologists excavate shell mound site in Guangxi






« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2007, 02:18:41 am » Quote 

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Guangxi archaeologist He Anyi inspects a skeleton buried at a Neolithic site in Chongzuo,

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwest China, on Tuesday, December 4, 2007.
 


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 03:07:44 pm









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                        Re: Archaeologists excavate shell mound site in Guangxi







« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2007, 02:18:41 am » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Guangxi archaeologist He Anyi inspects a skeleton buried at a Neolithic site in Chongzuo, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwest China, on Tuesday, December 4, 2007.
 


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 03:09:25 pm









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Posts: 44



    Re: 7,400-year-old jar gives clue to phoenix-worshipping history




« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2007, 01:56:54 am » Quote 

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                          First pottery with human-body design unearthed in Gansu






An ancient earthen jar with a human-body design painted on it, the first of its kind ever discovered in China, has been unearthed in Lintao City, northwest China's Gansu Province. 
 
An ancient earthen jar with a human-body design painted on it, the first of its kind ever discovered in China, has been unearthed in Lintao City, northwest China's Gansu Province.

The 30-cm-tall jar, discovered by local peasants, has a pair ofasymmetrical handles and a fish-type mouth, which is common in ancient pottery unearthed in Gansu, says Wang Haidong, vice president of the provincial Research Institute of Ancient Painted Pottery.

The jar dated back about 3,200 years ago, belonging to the Majiayao culture type (about 3300 B.C. to 2050 B.C.). The design of two human bodies, painted in black pigment, was the first ever seen in China, Wang Haidong says.

Clearly painted and lifelike, the two figures are in different postures, with intact trunks, legs and arms, heads and facial features.

Designs related to human bodies had been found on pottery unearthed in China before, yet all of them were clay figures, different from the two figures depicted in lines, according to Wang.

The discovery of a human body design on ancient pottery indicates that the ancient Chinese people were skilled in drawing and proves that pottery designs are the origin of traditional Chinese paintings, Wang says.



Source: Xinhua

 http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200403/22/eng20040322_138141.shtml


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 03:11:10 pm








Alcibiades
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Posts: 44



                  7,400-year-old jar gives clue to phoenix-worshipping history







« on: December 28, 2007, 01:55:09 am » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



7,400-year-old jar gives clue to phoenix-worshipping history




A 7,400-year-old pottery jar stamped with the design of two flying phoenixes has been excavated recently in central China's Hunan Province, helping archaeologists unveil the secret of the "birth" of the sacred bird. 


The two phoenixes have the typical characteristics of the legendary phoenix, which has a crest on its head, a long beak, a long neck and a long beautiful feathered tail.

The phoenix and the dragon are the most worshipped legendary creatures in China since ancient times.

The discovery showed that ancient Chinese myths relating to phoenixes dated back at least 7,400 years, said He Gang, head of the Hunan provincial archaeological research institute.

He headed the excavations at the Gaomiao Culture Ruins, covering 15,000 square meters, a Neolithic age site near Yanli Village of Chatou Township, Hongjiang City, unearthing a great deal of relic items that relate to religious rituals. in Yanli Village.

"I couldn't believe that the jar was made by ancients 7,400 years ago if I hadn't taken it myself," said He. "It's proof that there were special artisans, artists, at that time."

"The designs of the phoenix on the jar are far more delicate than of two similar birds on an ivory dish, unearthed several years ago from a site of the Hemudu Culture, dating back 4,000 to 7,000 years ago, in Yuyao County, east China's Zhejiang Province."

The phoenix is an imaginary bird, a creature resulting from primitives' piety, adoration and worship of gods, He said.

Chinese people have endowed the phoenix with many fine characteristics: beautiful, auspicious, kind, peaceful, and boasting lofty natural virtues. "Although the phoenix doesn't livein reality, it's in the heart of the Chinese people," He said.

"However, the phoenix was not created out of pure imagination,"said He. "Phoenix designs unearthed from the Gaomiao Culture ruinsshow that the original shape owed a lot to the peacock."

Discovery of the phoenix designs also provided important evidence that prove the Yangtze River valley was a major cradle ofChinese civilization, He said.

Moreover, discoveries of religious and sacrificial items at thesite provide material for studying the religious awareness, beliefand art of the prehistoric people, he said.



Source: Xinhua


http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200403/26/eng20040326_138617.shtml


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 03:53:20 pm
(http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/bigphotos/images/080630-oldest-shoes_big.jpg)







Delicate toe bones seen above from a 40,000-year-old human are
indicative of habitual shoe-wearing, according to a study in the
July issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

The finding suggests humans were wearing footwear 10,000 years
earlier than previously believed.

Photograph courtesy Hong Shang
of the Washington University in St. Louis


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 03:55:16 pm








                               Humans Wore Shoes 40,000 Years Ago, Fossil Suggests






Scott Norris
for National Geographic News
July 1, 2008

Humans were wearing shoes at least 10,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to a new study.

The evidence comes from a 40,000-year-old human fossil with delicate toe bones indicative of habitual shoe-wearing, experts say.

A previous study of anatomical changes in toe bone structure had dated the use of shoes to about 30,000 years ago.

Now the dainty-toed fossil from China suggests that at least some humans were sporting protective footwear 10,000 years further back, during a time when both modern humans and Neandertals occupied portions of Europe and Asia.

(Related: Atlas of the Human Journey)

Study author Erik Trinkaus, a paleoanthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, said the scarcity of toe bone fossils makes it hard to determine when habitual shoe-wearing became widespread.

However, he noted, even Neandertals may have been strapping on sandals.

"Earlier humans, including Neanderthals, show [some] evidence of occasionally wearing shoes," Trinkaus said.

Regular shoe use may have become common by 40,000 years ago, but "we still have no [additional] evidence from that time period—one way or the other," the scientist said.

The study by Trinkaus and Chinese co-author Hong Shang appears in the July issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 03:57:17 pm










Tale of the Toes



In a previous study, Trinkaus found that shoe-wearing and barefoot human groups show characteristic differences in the size and strength of their middle toe bones.

Consistent shoe use results in a more delicate bone structure, because footwear reduces the force
on middle toes during walking.

In his latest study, this anatomical evidence allowed Trinkaus to date the origin of shoes to a period long before the oldest known shoe remains.

Elizabeth Semmelhack curates the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada. She said given what we
know about the effects of shoe-wearing, Trinkaus' approach makes perfect sense.

"The simple act of wearing shoes alters the structure of our feet," Semmelhack said.

"It's interesting that [trinkaus] is looking at these prehistoric remains and coming to the same conclusions."


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:01:38 pm






Function vs. Fashion



The first forms of protective footwear probably evolved from simple wrappings used to insulate the feet from snow and freezing temperatures, experts say.

The oldest preserved shoe remains, dating to roughly 10,000 years ago from the western United States, are simple sandals woven of plant fibers.

But at some point shoes stopped being mere protection and become a fashion item.

Some anthropologists have suggested that even the earliest shoes may have served a more symbolic than protective function.

Beads found around the ankles and feet of human skeletons dated to 27,000 years ago suggest the presence of decorated footwear, Trinkaus said.

"History is replete with examples of impractical, irrational shoes," noted shoe museum curator Semmelhack.

"The actual first shoes may have been created out of necessity. But elements of irrationality probably crept in very early on," she said.

"Even these ancient people were probably trying to express something."


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:03:02 pm








FROM AN EARLIER ARTICLE IN THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC:





                                    Toe Bones Reveal World's Earliest Shoe-Wearers





John Pickrell in London
for National Geographic News
October 24, 2005

A new analysis of toe bones suggests that ancient people from Europe and the Middle East were the first to adopt supportive footwear—most likely primitive sandals—around 30,000 years ago.

Before that time, most humans went barefoot—regardless of their environment.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, found that humans at the end of the Old Stone Age had weaker small-toe bones than their ancestors but no corresponding loss of leg strength.

The finding suggests that the ancient humans were using footwear for support for the first time in history.

Humans from the far north are thought to have begun insulating their feet from the snow around 50,000 years ago.

However, the coverings provided no support, and no similar footwear is known from Europe or the Middle East during the same period.

Rapidly Degradable

Pinpointing the origin of shoes has been a difficult task, because footwear made of leather or plant materials degrades rapidly.

Currently the oldest surviving shoes are mostly complete sandals from California that date to 9,000 years ago. Other evidence comes from fossilized footprints.

Eric Trinkaus, a physical anthropologist at Washington University, tried a different approach and decided to look for changes in human foot anatomy between 10,000 and 100,000 years ago.

"The [best] evidence for earliest forms of foot protection is likely to be indirect," Trinkaus said.

He has shown that modern Alaskan Inuits, who sport sealskin boots, have less sturdy toes than other ancient Native Americans, who are known to have gone barefoot. 


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:04:16 pm











The work suggests that wearing shoes promotes more delicate small toes. When people walk barefoot, the four smaller toes on each foot flex to allow better traction. This promotes growth of sturdy toe bones.

By contrast, sandals, sneakers, and other supportive footwear lessens the load on the four small toes, thus weakening them.

Trinkaus compared the toe anatomy of western Eurasian human skeletons from the Middle and Upper Paleolithic periods (about 100,000 to 40,000 years ago and 40,000 to 10,000 years ago, respectively).

The anatomy of the skeletons' feet began to change around 26,000 to 30,000 years ago, becoming more delicate in later skeletons, the anthropologist found.

"I discovered that the bones of the little toes of humans from that time frame were much less strongly built than those of their ancestors, while their leg bones remained large and strong," Trinkaus said. "The most logical cause would be the introduction of supportive footwear."

"[These] people were routinely using semi-rigid- to rigid-soled shoes, boots, and sandals to protect the foot," he said.

The findings are detailed in a recent edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Support and Skepticism

Mike O'Brien directs the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

He said it's frustrating that the earliest direct evidence of footwear comes from North America, when "almost assuredly Upper Paleolithic peoples living in Europe and elsewhere were wearing footwear before anyone entered the Americas, 13,000 years ago."

"Looking at the anatomical evidence of footwear is a very novel and interesting approach," he said. "And the evidence strongly suggests that there was a significant increase in the use of footwear between Middle Paleolithic and middle Upper Paleolithic humans."

"Did Upper Paleolithic people always wear shoes? Apparently not always, but certainly routinely," O'Brien said.

Cameron Kippen, a podiatrist and shoe historian with Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia, counters that "the idea that shoes influenced toe function seems unlikely. But it is an interesting theory."

Kippen argues that shoes have made little genetic impact on foot anatomy in the last 9,000 years. He also notes that majority of the population would still have been barefoot even after shoes were adopted.

"There are still more people unshod today on Earth than wear shoes," he said.

Kippen believes that shoes first appeared as a decorative garment worn by only a few important people in a tribe—perhaps witch doctors and chieftains—on special occasions.


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:06:46 pm
(http://www.sunshinetechnologygroup.com/english/htdocs/Photo/ChinaMapQ8.JPG)











                                            Remains of vast Neolithic site found in south China






Tue Jul 22, 2008

 BEIJING, July 22 (Reuters) - Thousands of ancient artifacts and wooden poles more than 3,000 years old have been unearthed in China's southern Yunnan province, possibly the world's largest site of a Neolithic community, local media reported on Tuesday.

The poles, found standing 4.6 metres underground, were used as part of building structures for an ancient community that may have covered an area of 4 square km, the China Daily reported, citing Min Rui, a researcher at Yunnan Archaeological Institute, who is leading the excavation team.

The site could be older than the Hemudu community in Yuyao, in Zhejiang province, which is among the most famous in China and is believed to be the birthplace of society around the Yangtze River.

An area of 1,350 sq m has already been uncovered and excavation is ongoing.

"I was shocked when I first saw the site. I have never seen such a big and orderly one," Yan Wenming, history professor at Peking University, was quoted as saying.

Excavation began in January, but the site was actually discovered five decades ago during the construction of a canal along the banks of the Jianhu Lake, about 500 km northwest of the provincial capital Kunming.

Archaeologists have found more than 3,000 artifacts made of stone, wood, iron, pottery and bone, as well as more than 2,000 of the wooden posts.


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:12:32 pm
,


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:13:58 pm








So, it might be appropriate that the few human remains found in the cave so far turned out to be teeth as well. "We found another one this year," said Schepartz. "That's number five. This one was found at the deepest level of our excavations, and is probably closer to 300,000 years old."

Another surprise from the 2000 field season was the discovery of several antlers and tusk fragments. The team found both antlers that had been shed and antlers that were still attached to skulls. In later archaeological sites, antler and tusk are fashioned into tools or used to produce tools.


Many other specialists contribute to the Dadong studies. Sarah Stoutamire, an undergraduate student in anthropology at UC, spent her second field season at Dadong in 2000. She is doing a detailed analysis of the many Stegodon teeth found in the cave. Stoutamire hopes to find a pattern in the age of the teeth, information that could explain how the remains of such large animals got into the cave. Her work will help to understand whether the cave residents or large carnivores pursued older, large animals, or if smaller and younger animals were the preferred prey.

Schepartz noted that none of the excavations would have been possible without close collaboration and support from the Chinese government, which even built a lab near the cave for the researchers to use. Local families also help with the excavations.

She is also grateful for the wide-ranging support the team members have received from scientists in other disciplines. Researchers working under Jack Rink at McMaster University in Canada are using electron spin resonance to date the dental remains more precisely. Ruth Shahach-Gross of the Weizman Institute verified the difference in chemistry between burnt and unburnt bone. Lousiana State University Professor Brooks Ellwood is analyzing magnetic differences in sediment samples Schepartz and Stoutamire collected. He is looking for evidence of climate change over time.

"We have people from all over the world working on the project," said Schepartz. "To run a project like this, you have to bring in people in all kinds of disciplines. I'm fortunate that I've found people who have an interest in archaeological science."

The conference summarizing the various research findings is an outgrowth of three years of Panxian Dadong research supported by the Henry Luce Foundation. It is also receiving support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and the East-West Center.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Adapted from materials provided by University Of Cincinnati.
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 MLA University Of Cincinnati (2001, March 14). Tale Of The Teeth: Archaeologists Find Unusual Bone Collection In Chinese Cave. ScienceDaily.

Retrieved October 26, 2008, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2001/03/010313073727.htm


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:19:17 pm
(http://www.earthsky.org/images/17440.jpg)

HOMO ERECTUS

Wikimedia







                                     First humans arrived in China 1.7 million years ago






Earth & Sky Radio Series
Deborah Byrd,
Joel Block,
Lindsay Patterson and
Oct. 26, 2008

Scientists have evidence that early humans arrived in China from Africa about 1.7 million years ago.

EarthSky spoke to Rick Potts, a paleoanthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution. Potts said that a few stone tools and two front teeth belonging to Homo erectus were found near a stream in Southwest China. These were found decades ago, but never precisely dated. Just recently, Rick Potts and his colleagues were able to date them back to 1.7 million years. Their dating technique used shifts in magnetic poles to date the magnetic particles in the rocks around the artifacts.

Scientists want to know when humans began to move out of Africa. And how did they survive, how adaptable were they? Dating these artifacts tells us that humans were very adaptable to climate and environment. The oldest human remains found outside Africa are one and three-quarter million years old. People are considered to have moved fairly rapidly.

We’ll never know exactly why they wanted to move, but Potts speculated that maybe they just wanted to see what was beyond the next hillside or valley – human curiosity.




Our thanks to:


Rick Potts

Natural History Museum
Director, Human Origins program
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C.



Written by EarthSkyCommunicationsInc



FOR PREVIOUS DISCOVERIES SEE BELOW:


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:20:40 pm









                                        Early Humans In China One Million Years Ago






ScienceDaily 
(Aug. 2, 2007) —

Chronology and adaptability of early humans in different paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental settings are important topics in the study of human evolution.

China houses several early-human (Paleolithic) archaeological sites along the Nihewan Basin near Mongolia, some with artifacts that date back about 1 million years ago. Deng et al. analyze one specific locality in the Nihewan Basin, called the Feiliang Paleolithic Site, where several stone artifacts and mammalian bone fragments have been found buried in basin silts.

By analyzing remnant magnetizations of basin silt layers and comparing these data with charts of known magnetic reversals, the authors identify that the artifact layer was deposited about 1.2 million years ago, just prior to a major climate transition that occurred during the mid-Pleistocene. The transition brought increased climate variability to the region.

This finding, coupled with other studies, indicates a prominent early human presence in the high northern latitudes of East Asia. The authors indicate that further studies on the artifacts themselves could reveal the manner in which humans weathered these climate shifts.

Title: Magnetochronology of the Feiliang Paleolithic site in the Nihewan Basin and implications for early human adaptability to high northern latitudes in East Asia

Authors: Chenglong Deng, Caicai Liu, Hong Ao, Yongxin Pan and Rixiang Zhu: Paleomagnetism and Geochronology Laboratory, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China;

Fei Xie: Hebei Province Institute of Cultural Relics, Shijiazhuang, China.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2007GL030335, 2007


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by American Geophysical Union, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
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http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/08/070801174826.htm


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:21:50 pm









          Out Of Africa: Scientists Find Earliest Evidence Yet Of Human Presence In Northeast Asia







ScienceDaily
(Oct. 1, 2004) —
Arlington, Va. --

Early humans lived in northern China about 1.66 million years ago, according to research reported in the journal Nature this week. The finding suggests humans—characterized by their making and use of stone tools—inhabited upper Asia almost 340,000 years before previous estimates placed them there, surviving in a pretty hostile environment.

The research team, including Richard Potts of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, reports the results of excavating four layers of sediments at Majuangou in north China. All the layers contained indisputable stone tools apparently made by early humans, known to researchers as “hominins.”

The top layer, located about 145-148 feet deep in the Earth’s soil, contains the oldest known record of hominin stone tools, dating back to 1.32 million years ago. But the fourth and deepest layer, in which Potts and his team also found stone tools, is about 340,000 years older than that.

According to Potts, “Because the oldest layers show humans made tools and extracted bone marrow like early people in Africa, the Majuangou evidence suggests strong connections with African hominins and their rapid spread across Asia.”

All four sediment layers the researchers examined contained evidence that early humans used stone tools to strike other stones, most likely to fashion chopping and scraping tools. In the three deepest layers, the stone tools are made of rocks unlike those in the surrounding sediment, indicating the Asia humans transported the rocks from another place. It also appears these humans used their tools on bones of deer- and horse-sized mammals, perhaps to butcher them for food.

According to Mark Weiss, physical anthropology program director at the National Science Foundation, which funded the discovery, “This research is helping us gain a picture of the adaptability of humans as they evolved and moved out of the tropics and into other environments.”

The research team used rock-magnetic dating methods to establish the age of the artifacts collected at the Majuangou site and compared them to the soil history of a nearby site that contained a more-complete record of sediment deposits through time. Factoring in other known geological events, such as the natural movement of the Earth’s magnetic poles over time, the scientists pieced together a detailed age sequence for the archeological levels.

These findings suggest that humans reached northeast Asia earlier than scientists had previously thought. Furthermore, the Majuangou site evidence is only slightly older than evidence found at the same latitude in western Eurasia and about the same age as the earliest known human fossils found in southeast Asia. This implies that African human populations came to Asia and spread rapidly to many areas.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by National Science Foundation.
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 MLA National Science Foundation (2004, October 1). Out Of Africa: Scientists Find Earliest Evidence Yet Of Human Presence In Northeast Asia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 5, 2008, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2004/10/041001092127.htm


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:23:15 pm









         Brookhaven Lab Expert Helps Date Flute Thought To Be Oldest Playable Musical Instrument







ScienceDaily
(Oct. 5, 1999) —



                                 Bone flute found in China at 9,000-year-old Neolithic site



Upton, NY - Researchers in China have uncovered what might be the oldest playable musical instrument. Their work is described in a paper published in the September 23 issue of the scientific journal Nature.

Recent excavations at the early Neolithic site of Jiahu, located in Henan province, China, have yielded six complete bone flutes between 7,000 and 9,000 years old. Fragments of approximately 30 other flutes were also discovered. The flutes may be the earliest complete, playable, tightly-dated, multinote musical instruments.

Garman Harbottle, a chemist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and member of the Jiahu research team, helped analyze data from carbon-14 dating done in China on materials taken from the site. "Jiahu has the potential to be one of the most significant and exciting early Neolithic sites ever investigated," said Harbottle. "The carbon dating was of crucial importance to my Chinese colleagues in establishing the age of the site and the relics found within it."

The exquisitely-crafted flutes are all made from the ulnae, or wing bones, of the red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis Millen) and have five, six, seven or eight holes. The best-preserved flute has been played and tonally analyzed in tests at the Music School of the Art Institute of China.

The discovery of these flutes presents a remarkable and rare opportunity for anthropologists, musicians and the general public to hear musical sounds as they were produced nine millennia ago. To hear an audio recording of the flute, go to http://www.bnl.gov/bnlweb/flutes.html on the World Wide Web.

The excavations and carbon-14 dating were carried out by researchers from the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology of Henan Province, Zhengzhou, China; the Archaeometry Laboratory at the University of Science and Technology of China; and the Paleobotany Laboratory, Academia Sinica, Beijing, China.

Tonal analysis of the flutes revealed that the seven holes correspond to a tone scale remarkably similar to the Western eight-note scale that begins "do, re, mi." This carefully-selected tone scale suggested to the researchers that the Neolithic musician of the seventh millennium BC could play not just single notes, but perhaps even music.

Jiahu lies in the Central Yellow River Valley in mid-Henan Province and was inhabited from 7000 BC to 5700 BC. The site was discovered by Zhu Zhi, late director of the Wuyang County Museum, in 1962, but only in the past 15 years has significant excavation activity begun. In addition to the musical instruments, the site has yielded important information on the early foundations of Chinese society. Music in China is traditionally associated with ritual observances and government affairs.

To date, only about five percent of Jiahu has been excavated, uncovering 45 house foundations, 370 cellars, nine pottery kilns and thousands of artifacts of bone, pottery, stone and other materials. Additional excavation activities are planned for the near future.

The authors of the paper describing the Jiahu findings are Juzhong Zhang, from the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology of Henan Province, Zhengzhou, China, and the Archaeometry Laboratory at the University of Science and Technology of China; Changsui Wang, also from the Archaeometry Laboratory; Zhaochen Kong, from the Paleobotany Laboratory, Academia Sinica, Beijing, China; and Garman Harbottle from Brookhaven.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by Brookhaven National Laboratory.
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 MLA Brookhaven National Laboratory (1999, October 5). Brookhaven Lab Expert Helps Date Flute Thought To Be Oldest Playable Musical Instrument. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 5, 2008, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/1999/10/991005071115.htm


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:25:00 pm









                           9,000-year History Of Chinese Fermented Beverages Confirmed






ScienceDaily
(Dec. 7, 2004) —
PHILADELPHIA, PA,
December 2004 --



Chemical analyses of ancient organics absorbed, and preserved, in pottery jars from the Neolithic
village of Jiahu, in Henan province, Northern China, have revealed that a mixed fermented beverage
of rice, honey, and fruit was being produced as early as 9,000 years ago, approximately the same
time that barley beer and grape wine were beginning to be made in the Middle East.

In addition, liquids more than 3,000 years old, remarkably preserved inside tightly lidded bronze
vessels, were chemically analyzed. These vessels from the capital city of Anyang and an elite burial
in the Yellow River Basin, dating to the Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties (ca. 1250-1000 B.C.), contained specialized rice and millet "wines." The beverages had been flavored with herbs, flowers, and/or tree resins, and are similar to herbal wines described in the Shang dynasty oracle inscriptions.

The new discoveries, made by an international, multi-disciplinary team of researchers including the University of Pennsylvania Museum's archaeochemist Dr. Patrick McGovern of MASCA (Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology), provide the first direct chemical evidence for early fermented beverages in ancient Chinese culture, thus broadening our understanding of the key technological and cultural roles that fermented beverages played in China.

The discoveries and their implications for understanding ancient Chinese culture will be published on-
line the week of December 6, 2004 in the PNAS Early Edition (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences): "Fermented Beverages of Pre-and Proto-historic China," by Patrick E. McGovern, Juzhong Zhang, Jigen Tang, Zhiquing Zhang, Gretchen R. Hall, Robert A. Moreau, Alberto Nuñez, Eric D. Butrym, Michael P. Richards, Chen-shan Wang, Guangsheng Cheng, Zhijun Zhao, and Changsui Wang. Dr. McGovern worked with this team of researchers, associated with the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, the Institute of Archaeology in Beijing, the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology of Henan Province, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Firmenich Corporation, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig (Germany), and the Institute of Microbiology
of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The PNAS website address to the article is:



http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0407921101.


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:26:55 pm




              (http://www.china-waterworks.com/china-map.jpg)


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:28:07 pm



               (http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39110000/gif/_39110403_china_henan_203.gif)









Dr. McGovern first met with archaeologists and scientists, including his co-authors on the paper, in China in 2000, returning there in 2001 and 2002. Because of the great interest in using modern scientific techniques to investigate a crucial aspect of ancient Chinese culture, collaboration was initiated and samples carried back to the U.S. for analysis. Chemical tests of the pottery from the Neolithic village of Jiahu was of special interest, because it is some of the earliest known pottery from China. This site was already famous for yielding some of the earliest musical instruments and domesticated rice, as well as possibly the earliest Chinese pictographic writing. Through a variety of chemical methods including gas and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, infrared spectrometry, and stable isotope analysis, finger-print compounds were identified, including those for hawthorn fruit and/or wild grape, beeswax associated with honey, and rice.

The prehistoric beverage at Jiahu, Dr. McGovern asserts, paved the way for unique cereal beverages of the proto-historic 2nd millennium BC, remarkably preserved as liquids inside sealed bronze vessels of the Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties. The vessels had become hermetically sealed when their tightly fitting lids corroded, preventing evaporation. Numerous bronze vessels with these liquids have been excavated at major urban centers along the Yellow River, especially from elite burials of high-ranking individuals. Besides serving as burial goods to sustain the dead in the afterlife, the vessels and their contents can also be related to funerary ceremonies in which living intermediaries communicated with the deceased ancestor and gods in an altered state of consciousness after imbibing a fermented beverage.

"The fragrant aroma of the liquids inside the tightly lidded jars and vats, when their lids were first removed after some three thousand years, suggested that they indeed represented Shang and Western Zhou fermented beverages, " Dr. McGovern noted. Samples of liquid inside vessels from the important capital of Anyang and the Changzikou Tomb in Luyi county were analyzed. The combined archaeochemical, archaeobotanical and archaeological evidence for the Changzikou Tomb and Anyang liquids point to their being fermented and filtered rice or millet "wines," either jiu or chang, its herbal equivalent, according to the Shang Dynasty oracle inscriptions. Specific aromatic herbs (e.g., wormword), flowers (e.g., chrysanthemum), and/or tree resins (e.g., China fir and elemi) had been added to the wines, according to detected compounds such as camphor and alpha-cedrene, beta-amyrin and oleanolic acid, as well as benzaldehyde, acetic acid, and short-chain alcohols characteristic of rice and millet wines.



http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0407921101.


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:29:59 pm



            (http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2007/04/070402214930.jpg)

            A mandible from a 40,000-year-old
            early modern human skeleton found in China.

           (Credit:
           Erik Trinkaus)








                                                  China's Earliest Modern Human






ScienceDaily
(Apr. 3, 2007) —

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing have been studying a 40,000-year-old early modern human skeleton found in China and have determined that the "out of Africa" dispersal of modern humans may not have
been as simple as once thought.



Erik Trinkaus, Professor of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, his colleague Hong Shang, and others at the IVPP examined the skeleton, recovered in 2003 from the Tianyuan Cave, Zhoukoudian, near Beijing City.

The skeleton dates to 42,000 to 38,500 years ago, making it the oldest securely dated modern human skeleton in China and one of the oldest modern human fossils in eastern Eurasia.

The specimen is basically a modern human, but it does have a few archaic characteristics, particularly
in the teeth and hand bone. This morphological pattern implies that a simple spread of modern humans
from Africa is unlikely, especially since younger specimens have been found in Eastern Eurasia with similar feature patterns.

According to Trinkaus and Shang, "the discovery promises to provide relevant paleontological data for
our understanding of the emergence of modern humans in eastern Asia."

The research result will be published in the Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences on
April 3.

Article #01269 "An Early Modern Human from Tianyuan Cave, Zhoukoudian, China" by Hong Shang,
Haowen Tong, Shuangquan Zhang, Fuyon Chen and Erik Trinkaus.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
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 MLA Washington University in St. Louis (2007, April 3). China's Earliest Modern Human. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 5, 2008, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/04/070402214930.htm


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:35:50 pm
(http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2004/10/041001092127.jpg)

Stone artifacts and modified bones from Majuangou.

Top left, nortch made on a flake.

Top right, chopper made on angular fragment.

Middle left, multi-platform polyhedron made on angular fragment.

Middle right, scraper made on a flake.

Bottom left, hammerstone.

Bottom right, mammalian long-bone fragments with impact notches and flake scars.



(Credit: Permission granted,
R. Potts)


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:36:58 pm









            Out Of Africa: Scientists Find Earliest Evidence Yet Of Human Presence In Northeast Asia






ScienceDaily
(Oct. 1, 2004) —
Arlington, Va. --

Early humans lived in northern China about 1.66 million years ago, according to research reported in the journal Nature this week. The finding suggests humans—characterized by their making and use of stone tools—inhabited upper Asia almost 340,000 years before previous estimates placed them there, surviving in a pretty hostile environment.

The research team, including Richard Potts of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, reports the results of excavating four layers of sediments at Majuangou in north China. All the layers contained indisputable stone tools apparently made by early humans, known to researchers as “hominins.”

The top layer, located about 145-148 feet deep in the Earth’s soil, contains the oldest known record of hominin stone tools, dating back to 1.32 million years ago. But the fourth and deepest layer, in which Potts and his team also found stone tools, is about 340,000 years older than that.

According to Potts, “Because the oldest layers show humans made tools and extracted bone marrow like early people in Africa, the Majuangou evidence suggests strong connections with African hominins and their rapid spread across Asia.”

All four sediment layers the researchers examined contained evidence that early humans used stone tools to strike other stones, most likely to fashion chopping and scraping tools. In the three deepest layers, the stone tools are made of rocks unlike those in the surrounding sediment, indicating the Asia humans transported the rocks from another place. It also appears these humans used their tools on bones of deer- and horse-sized mammals, perhaps to butcher them for food.

According to Mark Weiss, physical anthropology program director at the National Science Foundation, which funded the discovery, “This research is helping us gain a picture of the adaptability of humans as they evolved and moved out of the tropics and into other environments.”

The research team used rock-magnetic dating methods to establish the age of the artifacts collected at the Majuangou site and compared them to the soil history of a nearby site that contained a more-complete record of sediment deposits through time. Factoring in other known geological events, such as the natural movement of the Earth’s magnetic poles over time, the scientists pieced together a detailed age sequence for the archeological levels.

These findings suggest that humans reached northeast Asia earlier than scientists had previously thought. Furthermore, the Majuangou site evidence is only slightly older than evidence found at the same latitude in western Eurasia and about the same age as the earliest known human fossils found in southeast Asia. This implies that African human populations came to Asia and spread rapidly to many areas.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Adapted from materials provided by National Science Foundation.
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Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
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Out Of Africa: Scientists Find Earliest Evidence Yet Of Human Presence In Northeast Asia.

ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 19, 2008, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2004/10/041001092127.htm


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 02, 2009, 04:39:21 pm









                                  Red color said to rule fashion world 15,000 years ago 
 
 




www.chinaview.cn 
2008-11-26
 ZHENGZHOU,
Nov. 26 (Xinhua) --

   The color red, which represents luck, happiness and passion in China, could have been used in clothing 15,000 years ago.

    Li Zhanyang, a researcher with Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, said
in an interview with Xinhua on Wednesday.

    Li has been leading an eight-member archaeological team doing excavation and related research
on lake-based ruins in Xuchang, central China's Henan Province, in recent years.

    The Xuchang ruins made headlines in foreign media in January when State Administration of Cultural Heritage announced that Chinese archaeologists had found a human skull dating back at least 80,000 years in the ruins last December.

    According to Li, this month, their excavation team found from the soil strata dating back 15,000 years, or the late Paleolithic Era, at the Xuchang ruins more than 20 pieces of hematite, one of iron oxides commonly used as a dyestuff, alongside three dozen thin instruments made of animal tooth enamel, plus seven needles made of the upper cheek tooth enamel of a rhinoceros sub-species now extinct.

    It is the first time in China that iron oxide of such high concentration has been excavated from
the ruins of the late Paleolithic Era, claimed Li.

    "Through excavation, we are confident that these hematite were deliberately brought to the Xuchang ruins from afar by ancient people, as Xuchang does not produce such minerals," said Li.

    The ruins used to be the location of a lake where activities such as clothes making, food preparing, water drinking were clustered, said Li.

    "I believe the people who lived there might have used hematite to dye clothes, which was quite different from Upper Cave Man at Zhoukoudian of Beijing who used hematite as a sacrifice to the
dead, or from Europe, where ancient people there used hematite to draw cave murals."

    Li said lab work proved the thin instruments made of animal tooth enamel might have be used as articles similar to buttons in present times.

    "There has been evidence suggesting people dating back 15,000 years could have made advanced fur apparel. If that is true, the most popular color might have been red," said the Chinese archaeologist.

    The Paleolithic site at Xuchang was discovered in 1965, when Chinese scientists found animal fossils and stone artifacts from soil dug for a well. The most recent large scale excavation started in June 2005.

    The archaeologists declared in January this year that they found the fossil consisted of 16 pieces
of the skull with protruding eyebrows and a small forehead from the excavation last December.

    That find was heralded as the greatest discovery since Peking Man and Upper Cave Man skulls were found in Beijing early last century.

    The Peking Man skull fossil dates back 200,000 to 700,000 years, while the Upper Cave Man skull fossils date back about 18,000 years.

    Besides the skull, more than 30,000 animal fossils, and stone and bone artifacts were found in the Xuchang ruins over the past two years. The pieces were fossilized because they were buried near the mouth of a spring, whose water had a high calcium content, according to Li.
 
 
Editor: Du Guodong 


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 11:40:44 am









                                   Oldest Known Turtle Fossil, 220 Million Years Old






ScienceDaily
(Nov. 26, 2008) —

With hard bony shells to shelter and protect them, turtles are unique and have long posed a mystery
to scientists who wonder how such an elegant body structure came to be.

Since the age of dinosaurs, turtles have looked pretty much as they do now with their shells intact,
and scientists lacked conclusive evidence to support competing evolutionary theories. Now with the discovery in China of the oldest known turtle fossil, estimated at 220- million-years-old, scientists have a clearer picture of how the turtle got its shell.

Working with colleagues in China and Canada, Olivier Rieppel, PhD, chairman of The Field Museum's department of geology, has analyzed the Chinese turtle fossil, finding evidence to support the notion that turtle shells are bony extensions of their backbones and ribs that expanded and grew together to form a hard protective covering.

The fossilized turtle ancestor, dubbed Odontochelys semitestacea (translation: half-shelled turtle with teeth), likely lived in the water rather than on land.

A report from Chun Li of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, and Xiao-Chun Wu of the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, along with Field's Rieppel, will appear in the journal Nature. Other co-authors include Li-Ting Wang of the Geological Survey of Guizhou Province in Guiyang, China, where the fossil was discovered and Li-Jun Zhao of the Zhejiang Museum of Nature History in Hangzhou, China.

Prior to discovery of Odontochelys, the oldest known turtle specimen was Proganochelys, which was found in Germany. Because Proganochelys has a fully-formed shell, it provides little information about how shells were formed. Odontochelys is older than Proganochelys and is helpful because it has only a partial shell, Rieppel said.

"This is the first turtle with an incomplete shell," Rieppel said. "The shell is an evolutionary innovation. It's difficult to explain how it evolved without an intermediate example."

Some contemporary reptiles such as crocodiles have skin with bony plates and this was also seen in ancient creatures such as dinosaurs. Some researchers theorized that turtle shells started as bony
skin plates, called osteoderms, which eventually fused to form a hard shell.

There are problems with this idea, including studies of how shells form in turtle embryos as they develop within eggs, Rieppel said. Embryo studies show that the turtle backbones expand outward and the ribs broaden to meet and form a shell, he said.

While paleontologists take such studies into account, they aren't sufficient to prove how anatomy evolved over time, and evidence can be read in different ways. The limbs of Proganochelys, for example, show signs of bony plates in the skin.

But Odontochelys has no osteoderms and it has a partial shell extending from its backbone, Rieppel said. It also shows a widening of ribs. Although Odontochelys has only a partial shell protecting its back, it does have a fully formed plastron – complete protection of its underside – just as turtles do today.

This strongly suggests Odontochelys was a water dweller whose swimming exposed its underside to predators, Rieppel said. "Reptiles living on the land have their bellies close to the ground with little exposure to danger," he said.

Other arguments favor the notion that turtle shells evolved as extensions of the reptile's backbones
and ribs, Rieppel said, but the partial shell of Odontochelys speaks very clearly.

"This animal tells people to forget about turtle ancestors covered with osteoderms," he said.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by Field Museum, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
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 MLA Field Museum (2008, November 26). How Did Turtles Get Their Shells? Oldest Known Turtle Fossil, 220 Million Years Old, Give Clues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2008, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2008/11/081126133307.htm


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 11:42:31 am


                    (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/bigphotos/images/081126-oldest-turtle_big.jpg)

                    Fossils of Odontochelys semitestacea, a 220-million-year-old primitive
                    turtle (above, an artists rendering), were found recently in China.

                    The fossils, which do not have fully formed shells, may be the missing
                    link that shows how modern-day turtles evolved their distinctive hard
                    backs, experts said in November 2008.

                    Illustration courtesy
                    Marlene Donnelly
                    National Geographic Magazine


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 11:43:53 am








                               Oldest Turtle Found; May Crack Shell-Evolution Mystery





Brian Handwerk for
National Geographic News
November 26, 2008

Fossils of the oldest-known turtles, unearthed in southwestern China, may help answer an evolutionary
enigma—how did the turtle get its shell?

The 220-million-year-old animals did not have full shells, or carapaces, on their backs, researchers found.

But the newfound creatures did sport fully developed plastrons—the flat part of a turtle shell that covers and protects the belly.

The discovery supports the theory that turtle shells formed from the underside—plastron first—and grew bony extensions of ribs and backbones that eventually joined to form the classic shell that exists today.

(Related: "Earliest Swimming Turtle Fossils Found—New Species" [November 19, 2008].)




Alternate Theory

An alternate theory of shell evolution suggests that turtle shells developed from the fusion of bony armor plates
in the skin, known as osteoderms, seen in some dinosaurs and some modern-day reptiles, including crocodiles.

But the prehistoric turtle, dubbed Odontochelys semitestacea and described in a recent edition of the journal Nature, has no osteoderms.

"So far there is no direct evidence for the osteoderm theory," said study co-author Chun Li of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

"On the contrary, here, in our hands, there is an ideal missing link for turtle evolution. It has no osteoderms on
its back, but only ossified neural [central] plates and expanded ribs."

(Explore a prehistoric time line.)

The study also notes that embryonic evidence from modern turtles suggests that their shells begin to form in a similar manner.

"If plastrons developed first, they may point to a marine lifestyle in which turtle bellies needed protection from predators," Li noted.

"We are not sure if the water [was] marine or [from other water bodies], so we presumed … that the animal inhabited marginal areas of the sea or deltas," he said.



Exciting Discovery

Scientists have waited a long time for a find like Odontochelys, Li said: The previously oldest known turtles featured fully formed shells.

"The new specimens are a very exciting discovery," agreed Robert Reisz of the University of Toronto, who was not involved in the research.

But Reisz suggests an alternate evolutionary interpretation for the intriguing fossils.

"Their argument is valid," he said of Li and colleagues.

"But we argue that it's equally possible that this could already be a [shell] reduction in an earlier turtle that we haven't found. Lots of marine turtles actually reduce their shell once they get into the water."

"Hopefully we'll find more," Reisz added. "We're closing the gap, but there is still a big morphological gap between this turtle and its non-turtle ancestors."

Odontochelys also boasts another feature seen in no other turtles so far—teeth, Reisz added.

"Basically if you look at all the turtles we know, other than this one, they all have a beak rather than teeth," he said.

"Turtles come from reptile ancestors with teeth so we expected this, but it's still a great thing to find." 


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 11:45:00 am








                                  Chinese scientists discover origin of turtles' shells
 





DEC. 4, 2008

Chinese scientists have discovered the oldest known turtle fossils and revealed the origin of the turtle's shell. This discovery was reported in the latest issue of Nature.

Nature says that the discovery opens up a completely new path in the research of reptile evolution, and will force scientists to rethink the origins of the turtle.

The fossils were found in sediments deposited in Guanling Buyi-Miao Autonomous County, Guizhou Province, 220 million years ago. Because the specimen has dense teeth and primitive embryonic shell, scientists named it Odontochelys semitestacea.

According to Li Chun of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, fossil turtle specimens are extremely rare. Just three primitive turtle specimens have been found – in Germany, Thailand and Argentina – but their body structures are very similar to today's turtle, so give few clues as to the creature's origins.

Astonishingly, this Chinese specimen has a fully developed plastron – the flat underside of the shell. Its body structure suggests that the plastron was formed earlier than the carapace – the upper, dorsal part, and that the two sections of the shell evolved separately. What's more, the carapace grew from vertebra, which contradicts the prevailing hypothesis that the shell was formed by bony deposits fusing together.

The origin of turtles turns out to be more complex than had been thought. Many scientists had believed turtles evolved on land but the bone structure of Odontochelys semitestacea and the geological conditions of its location strongly suggest turtles originated in water.

This research was supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the 973 Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology. Professor Wang Liting from Guizhou Institute of Geological Survey, and Zhao Lijun from Zhejiang Museum of Natural History contributed to this discovery, along with experts from Canada and the United States.



(China.org.cn

by Fan Junmei,
November 28, 2008)


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 11:47:26 am








                                 Experts: Shandong dinosaur fossil field "world's largest" 
 
 




www.chinaview.cn 
2008-12-29 20:01:03     
JINAN, Dec. 29 (Xinhua)

-- A dinosaur fossil field discovered this year in eastern China appears to be the largest in the world,
a paleontologist told Xinhua on Monday.

    More than 7,600 fossils have been discovered so far in Zhucheng City in eastern Shandong Province and the number is climbing, said Zhao Xijin, the paleontologist in charge of the project.

    Zhao is from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

    "The discoveries are expected to contribute to research on the mystery of dinosaur extinction," Zhao said. He added that the fossils dated mainly from the Late Cretaceous of the Mesozoic Period, when dinosaurs became extinct.

    The city has a major field of large hadrosaurus fossils, discovered in the 1960s by a Chinese oil expedition. More than 50 tons of fossils have been discovered since then.

    The world's largest hadrosaurus fossil was found here in the 1980s and exhibited in the local museum.

    A new fossil site was found during another mining expedition in March in Longdu, Shunwang, Jiayue and Zhigou Towns. One field in Longdu is 300meters long by 10m wide and 5m deep. More than 3,000 fossils have been found at that site, among which new genera or species might be found, Zhao said.

    A 2m skull of a large ceratopsian was found here, the first such discovery outside of North America, said Xu Xing, researcher of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology.

    In the 15 sub-fields, other new genera of ankylosaurus, tyrannosaurus and ceolurus were also found, Xu said.

    Zhao said the fossils had only the slimmest chance to have survived all these years. According to current research, the region might have been a watery area with abundant grass. That would have made it an ideal habitat for duck-billed dinosaurs, Zhao said.

    The geologists said there might have been a volcanic eruption that was fatal to the dinosaurs and later a flood that brought the fossils to their resting place.

    Mining had been suspended because of weather but would resume in the spring, Zhao said.

    Research on the findings would be published at the end of next year, he said. A fossil park will be built in the region, local authorities said.


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 11:48:13 am








                                     Huge dinosaur discovery in China: state media
     





Dec. 30, 2008
BEIJING
(AFP)

– Paleontologists in east China have dug up what they believe is one of the world's largest group of dinosaur fossils including the remains of an enormous "platypus", state press said Tuesday.

Paleontologists have discovered 15 areas near Zhucheng city in Shandong province that contain thousands of dinosaur bones, the Beijing News reported.

"This group of fossilised dinosaurs is currently the largest ever discovered in the world... in terms of area," the paper cited paleontologist Zhao Xijin of the China Academy of Sciences as saying.

In one area measuring 300 metres (990 feet) by 10 metres, more than 3,000 bones were found, the report said. Since digging began in March scientists have discovered more than 7,600 bones.

Included in the find was the largest "platypus" -- or "duck-billed dinosaur" in Chinese -- ever discovered measuring nine metres high with a wingspan wider than 16 metres, the report said.

Zhao said the discovery of so many dinosaurs in such a dense area could provide clues on how the animals became extinct towards the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago, the Beijing News said.

Scientists have also identified the remains of ankylosaurus, tyrannosaurus and coelurus, according to China's official Xinhua news agency.

Xinhua said paleontologists are expecting to find many more remains in the area, which lies in a region that has produced more than 50 tonnes of dinosaur fossils since the 1960s.

Plans are being made to set up a fossil park in the area, but local mine operations that were suspended for the dig are eager to resume mining, it said.


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 11:49:21 am














                                               Ancient Fossil Suggests Origin of Cheetahs
     





Jeanna Bryner
Senior Writer
Livescience.com –
Tue Dec 30, 2008

A nearly complete skull of a primitive cheetah that sprinted about in China more than 2 million years ago suggests the agile cats originated in the Old World rather than in the Americas.


The skull was discovered in Gansu Province, China, and represents a new cheetah species, now dubbed Acinonyx kurteni. The animal probably lived some time between 2.2 million and 2.5 million years ago, the researchers estimate, making the specimen one of the oldest cheetah fossils identified to date.


"This is extremely exciting stuff," said Luke Hunter, executive director of Panthera, an organization that aims to conserve the world's wild cats. "We know amazingly little about the evolutionary history of most of the large cats, with the cheetah being a prime example: The existing fossils we have are largely similar to the modern cheetah," said Hunter, who was not involved in the current discovery.


Cheetahs are the fastest land animals, capable of reaching speeds of 75 mph (120 kph), but they are not good climbers, unlike others in the cat family - Felidae. Still they are carnivores, like the other big cats. Today, cheetahs live primarily in Africa in the wild. Their status is threatened worldwide.






Cheetah features



Scientists have long debated the origin of these super-fast felines, with clues coming from relatively few fossils. These include the European Acinonyx pardinensis with an estimated age of 2.2 million years, and the North African A. aicha, which dates to about 2.5 million years ago.


Making things more confusing, fossils of cheetah-like cats in the Miracinonyx genus (also called American cheetahs) have been discovered in North America.


"This new fossil is around as old as the oldest cheetah fossils we already have," Hunter told LiveScience, "but unlike all those, it has a unique set of 'primitive' characteristics that strongly suggest it is an earlier ancestor to all cheetahs, allowing us to go back deeper in the evolutionary sequence of the cheetah."


For instance, the cat had enlarged sinuses for air intake during sprinting, as do modern cheetahs. But its teeth showed primitive features.


"The enlarged sinuses cause the forehead of the skull to bulge. If you look at a cheetah's skull, it is remarkably tall and domed compared to similar sized cats such as pumas, ocelots or leopards, in particular around the upper nose region," said researcher Per Christiansen of the Zoological Museum in Denmark.


"Our specimen also has a bulging nose, and, presumably large air sinuses for fast running," Christiansen said. "So running fast and becoming really good at it was one of the first steps in cheetah evolution. Later, the teeth changed as well."


Christiansen and Ji Mazák of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum detailed the finding this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research was supported by a grant from the Carlsberg Foundation.






Cat home



The scientists say the newly analyzed cheetah is the most primitive known to date, which sheds light on cheetahs' original home.


"Because this new skull is more primitive than both cheetahs and Miracinonyx cats, and was found in China, it argues for a Eurasian/African ancestry of the entire group, with the Miracinonyx cats (or their ancestors) dispersing into the Americas later," Hunter said.


The new species brings the tally to five or six (scientists are not sure whether one of the previously found specimens is from a cheetah) cheetah and cheetah-like species known, with only one still alive today. (The living cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, is found almost exclusively along African grasslands and semi-deserts.)


"It suggests that the 'sprinting cat' specialization is a fragile one, prone to extinction even under natural circumstances," Hunter said. "In light of this, we need to remind ourselves how imperiled the cheetah of today finds itself, where the threats are primarily human ones. If we lose this cheetah, it would be the end of this wonderful, unique lineage of sprinting cats."   


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 11:51:51 am
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4e/China_Gansu.svg/705px-China_Gansu.svg.png)

GANSU PROVINCE - CHINA


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 11:54:24 am









                           Scientists Discover First Swimming Mammal From The Jurassic






ScienceDaily
(Feb. 24, 2006)

— A team of international researchers have discovered a new species of primitive mammal capable of swimming in the Middle Jurassic lake beds of China.

In a cover article published in Science, the team of researchers from Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Nanjing University, and Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences describe a fossilized skeleton of Castorocauda lutrasimilis ([Castoro] - Latin for beaver, [cauda] - Latin for tail, [lutra] -Latin river otter] and [similis] - Latin for similarity). Castorocauda had a beaver-like tail, strong arms for digging, and sharp teeth specialized for aquatic feeding, similar to the modern river otter.

Castorocauda is a new taxon of docodonts, an extinct mammal group that existed from the Middle Jurassic to Late Cretaceous. But this Mesozoic group has no modern descendants, and is not directly related to modern placental mammals.

Uncovered from the Middle Jurassic Jiulongshan Formation of the Inner Mongolia Region, dated approximately 164 million years ago, Castorocauda is the earliest-known mammal that had specialized skeletal and soft-tissue features for swimming and teeth for eating fish. This significant fossil offers the first evidence that some Mesozoic mammals occupied the semi-aquatic niche and that Mesozoic mammals as a whole had a much great ecological diversification than previously thought.

Castorocauda is preserved with a pelt (guard hairs and under furs), making it the most primitive-known mammal to be preserved with hairs. Carbonized in the fossil, the short and dense under-furs were to keep water from the skin; the longer guard hairs are preserved as impressions on the fossil slab. Fossilized furs of this animal provide fresh evidence on phylogenetic evolution of mammalian fur â�" this kind of specialized pelt developed well before the rise of modern mammals. All previously discovered fossils with fur belong to the more derived taxa within the Mammalia or mammalian crown group.

"Its lifestyle was probably very similar to the modern day platypus," said Dr. Zhe-Xi Luo, curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. "It probably lived along river or lake banks. It doggy-paddled around, ate aquatic animals and insects, and burrowed tunnels for its nest."

Dr. Luo pointed out that, perfectly shaped for aquatic life, Castorocauda had a broad and scaly tail that propelled it through water just like the modern beaver. Its tail vertebrae are also similar to those of beavers and otters. Because Castorocauda is not related to modern placentals, its adaptation for swimming is a convergent evolution to the modern beaver and modern river otter, both of which are placentals. 


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 11:55:34 am
(http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2006/02/060224195600.jpg)










Modern semi-aquatic placental mammals (such as beavers and otters), and fully-aquatic placental mammals (such as whales and manatees) did not appear until Eocene to Oligocene (55 - 25 million years ago). By comparison, Castorocauda is at least 164 million year old. So it indicates that primitive docodont mammaliaforms evolved the semi-aquatic swimming independently in the Mesozoic, almost 100 millions years earlier than the Cenozoic placental mammals (beavers, otters, whales and manatees).

Other interesting features of Castorocauda include its teeth and size. Castorocauda developed molars specialized for feeding on small fish and aquatic invertebrates, similar to modern seals or the river otters.

It is also the largest known Jurassic mammaliaform (including mammals).

Most Mesozoic mammals are small (less than 50 grams) and generalized ground-living (terrestrial) mammals. Limited by their small size, and living in the shadow of much larger dinosaurs, most Mesozoic mammals are insectivorous. However, Castorocauda is a significant exception and very different from the typically small and terrestrial Mesozoic mammals. Castorocauda is at least 42.5 cm in body length and more than 6 cm in skull length. Scientists estimate that it weighed about 500 to 800 grams.

"So far, it is the only semi-aquatic mammal from the Jurassic," said Dr. Luo, "and it is also the largest-known Jurassic mammal. Partly because of its larger size, it was possible for Castorocauda to develop fish-eating and swimming adaptations."

The research team was led by Dr. Qiang Ji of Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences (Beijing, China) and Dr. Zhe-Xi Luo of Carnegie Museum of Natural History (Pittsburgh, USA). The art for the Science Magazine cover was created by Mark A. Klingler, scientific illustrator at Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Their research was supported by funding from the National Science Foundation (USA), National Natural Science Foundation (China), Ministry of Science and Technology (China) (973 project), Ministry of Land Resources (China), National Geographic Society (USA) and Carnegie Museum of Natural History (USA).


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by Carnegie Museum Of Natural History.
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 MLA Carnegie Museum Of Natural History (2006, February 24). Scientists Discover First Swimming Mammal From The Jurassic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 13, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2006/02/060224195600.htm


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 11:57:52 am









                      Researchers Discover The Earliest Known Relative Of Marsupial Mammals






ScienceDaily
(Dec. 12, 2003)

— Pittsburgh -- An International team, including scientists from Carnegie Museum of Natural History, have discovered the most primitive and oldest know relative of all marsupial mammals.

In an article published today in Science, the team of American and Chinese scientists describe a 125 million year old fossilized skeleton of Sinodelphys szalayi, ([Sino] - Latin for China, [delphys] - Greek term used for basal marsupial species; [szalayi] - in honor of Professor F.S. Szalay, a leading expert on mammalian skeletal evolution.).

"This mammal could be the great grand aunt or uncle, or it could be the great grandparent of all marsupial mammals," said Dr. Zhe-Xi Luo, curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the lead author of the paper.

Modern marsupials and their extinct relatives make up an important mammalian lineage, known as metatherians, consisting of mammals that are more closely related to modern marsupial mammals (such as opossum, kangaroos and koala) than to placentals (such as humans, rodents and whales). Modern marsupials are a significant part of the larger metatherian mammal group, and are the descendants of the extinct metatherians that lived during the age of dinosaurs, known as the Mesozoic.

With over 270 species, marsupials are the second most diverse mammal group (after placentals with over 4300 species). Marsupials and placentals are both therians mammals characterized by live-birth fetuses, yet they have different reproductive strategies.

Placentals produce better-developed fetuses after longer gestation. In contrast, marsupials give birth the less mature fetuses, and then nurse them for longer periods of time, often in the mother's "marsupial" pouch.

Today marsupials are present mostly in Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea, and in South America. One species, the Virginia opossum, is present in North America. However, in the age of dinosaurs, fossil relatives of marsupials evolved in Asia and North America, before marsupials spread to the rest of the world after the dinosaur extinction.

Prior to the discovery of Sinodelphys, the previously earliest metatherian fossils were some isolated teeth from the 110 million year old sediments of North America. The oldest jaw fragments of metatherians were from deposits of Uzbekistan 90 million years in age. The previously oldest skeletal fossil is from Mongolia and is 75 million years in age.

"The newly discovered Sinodelphys extends the duration for the marsupial lineage by 15 million years, and the earliest record of metatherian skeleton by 50 million years," said Dr. Luo. "This new fossil provided precious, new information about the skeletal anatomy, function, and habits of the earliest metatherians, and sheds light on the evolution of all marsupial mammals."

"The earliest fossils of metatherians are extremely important for scientific studies on the origins of all marsupial mammals, said Dr. John Wible, curator of Mammals at Carnegie Museum of Natural History and a co-author of the paper. "Because marsupials and placentals are close to each other and they dominated the world after the extinction of dinosaurs, the earliest metatherian fossils are also relevant for the understanding the divergence of marsupials and placentals, an important event in the history of vertebrate life."

A nearly complete skeleton of Sinodelphys, preserved on a shale slab, was found in the Mesozoic Yixian Formation in western Liaoning Province of China. The fossil is estimated to be 125 million years in geological age. Around the skeleton are well-preserved impressions of fur and some carbonized soft-tissues.


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 11:58:55 am









The mouse-sized animal was about 15 cm (about 6 inches) long and weighed 25 to 30 grams (one ounce). Marsupial-like features can be found in the wrist, anklebones, and in the anterior teeth. The dental features indicate that Sinodelphys ate insects and worms, much like modern-day small mammals.

As with modern tree-dwelling animals, Sinodelphys' shoulder, limbs and feet suggest that it was quite capable of climbing. It was adapted to climbing lower branches of trees and bushes. It lived in woods or shrubs on the lakeshore or riverbank and scurried on uneven surfaces on the ground.

Co-existing with Sinodelphys were the feathered theropod dinosaurs and giant sauropods. There were also pterosaurs, primitive birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, insects, and diverse plants. Sinodelphys was one of several mammals in the Yixian biota, including: the earliest-known placental-relative Eomaia, the symmetrodonts Zhangheotherium and Maotherium, the eutriconodonts Jeholodens and Repenomamus, and the multituberculate Sinobaatar.

"Interestingly, the more primitive mammals of the Yixian feathered dinosaur fauna were adapted to terrestrial or ground dwelling living," said Dr. Wible. "But only the derived eutherian Eomaia and metatherian Sinodelphys were scansorial or climbing mammals. This suggests that scansorial adaptations were important in the earliest divergence of the modern marsupials and placentals."

A collaborative team of Chinese and American scientists accomplished the discovery and research on Sinodelphys. The Chinese research team was led by Dr. Qiang Ji of Nanjing University and the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences. The American research team includes Dr. Zhe-Xi Luo and Dr. John Wible of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

This research was supported by funding from the Ministry of Land Resources and Ministry of Science and Technology of People's Republic of China (to Prof. Q. Ji), the National Science Foundation of USA (to Z.-X. Luo and J. R. Wible), the National Geographic Society (to Z.-X. Luo), and the funding from Carnegie Museum.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by Carnegie Museum Of Natural History.
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 MLA Carnegie Museum Of Natural History (2003, December 12). Researchers Discover The Earliest Known Relative Of Marsupial Mammals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 13, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2003/12/031212080417.htm


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 12:01:00 pm
(http://www.tourchina.cn/culture/chinamapb.jpg)









                                      China discovers earliest cave dwelling complex






January 19, 2009
People's Daily Online 
 
Chinese archeologists discovered in Shaanxi Province the earliest known cave dwelling residence complex to date. This large scale ancient complex shows that the history of ancient people living in cave dwellings can be traced as far as 5,500 years ago. The private pottery kilns found at the complex indicate that the concept of private property had already developed by that time.

The Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology recently organized a large scale excavation. During excavation, archeologists discovered that there are 17 relic cave dwellings in total, spread out in rows out to the edge of a cliff near the bank of the Jing River, close to Yangguanzhai Village in Gaoling County of Shaanxi Province in northwestern China. The cave dwellings are part of the cultural heritage from the Banpo phase IV of the Neolithic Age, roughly 5,500 years ago.

A single dwelling covered an area of over 10 square meters, with a simple layout similar to the shape of the Chinese character "吕" (lu). It consisted of a front room and a backroom connected to one another. The front room was an ordinary room, while the backroom was a cave dwelling. Beside the dwellings, archeologists also found pottery kilns and caves used to store potteries where a great number of potteries, greenware sherds and some pottery-making tools were also unearthed.



By People's Daily Online   


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 01:34:34 pm




                           (http://bbs.chinadaily.com.cn/attachments/month_0702/great%20wall%20of%20china%20map_gR5Qzf03LiHT.gif)


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 01:40:25 pm



              (http://www.chinaculture.org/focus/images/attachement/jpg/site1/20090408/0013729e4a580b46b57017.jpg)




                                                           (http://www.enghunan.gov.cn/wwwHome/200904/W020090402362593439558.jpg)


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 01:44:30 pm




              (http://images.china.cn/attachement/jpg/site1007/20090125/001372a9ae270ae63e5b1c.jpg)


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 01:49:02 pm








                       China Exclusive: Archaeologists unearth earliest man-made cave houses 
 
 




www.chinaview.cn 
2009-01-
by Xinhua writers
Fu Shuangqi,
Feng Guo and
Zuo Yuanfeng
XI'AN, Jan. 25
(Xinhua)

-- Archaeologists have unearthed the earliest man-made cave houses and privately-owned pottery workshops in China which date back 5,500 years.

    After four years of excavation, a row of 17 cave houses were found on a cliff along the Jinghe River in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Wang Weilin, deputy director of the Shaanxi Archaeology Institute and chief archaeologist of the excavation, told Xinhua.

    They were built between 3,500 to 3,000 BC, near the Yangguanzai village of Gaoling county, 20 km away from the provincial capital Xi'an.

    Wang said the row of houses are within a 16,000-square-meter site which is being excavated.

    The cave houses belonged to a late Neolithic culture named Yangshao. It originated in the middle reach of the Yellow River and was considered a main origin of Chinese civilization. Yangshao is best known for red pottery ware with painted patterns and animals.

    Each cave house, with an area of about ten square meters, was divided into two rooms. One was dug into the cliff side, the other, possibly made of wood and mud, was built on the outside of the cave, Wang said.

    Archaeologists also found pottery kilns and caves to store pottery beside the houses as well as pottery wares, fragments and tools.

    "Most of the cave houses had a pottery kiln beside it. We believe these cave houses were homes to families of pottery makers," Wang said.

    In previous excavations of Neolithic settlements in China, one pottery kiln was usually used by all families, he said. "Here we found the earliest evidence that a certain group of people were specialized in making pottery, a sign of division of labor."

    Caves storing pottery also show private ownership of property had emerged, Wang added.


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 01:49:59 pm









North of the cave houses, archaeologists also discovered sections of a moat averaging six to nine meters wide.

    Pottery unearthed from the moat's bottom showed it also belonged to the Yangshao culture from between 4,000 to 3,500 BC.

    "To dig it, lots of laborers must have been mobilized. Without an effective social mechanism, it would be hard to build a project like this," Wang said.

    A area covering 245,000 square meters inside the moat, equal to about the size of 46 American football fields, has not been unearthed.

    "We haven't excavated the settlement inside the moat but its scale was seldom seen at this age," Wang said.

    "As far as I know, the area inside the moat could be the largest and best preserved among settlements of this age," said Prof. Yan Wenming, a history expert with the School of Archaeology and Museology at Peking University.

    There were several other settlements of the same age nearby the discovery, but they were much smaller.

    "This one was very much likely to be an ancient town," said Wang.

    Archaeologists divide the Yangshao culture into three stages: between 5,000 to 4,000 BC, the middle period from 4,000 to 3,500 BC, and the one from 3,500 to 3,000 BC.

    "We know little about how people lived and were related in the middle stage. The discovery of this settlement offers a very rare and valuable chance to study this stage," said Chen Xingcan, deputy director of the Institute of Archaeology under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

    Early Yangshao settlements have mainly been found in Shaanxi, but during the middle stage people spread to nearly half of what's considered today's China. Discoveries have been made in the north near the Great Wall, south to the Yangtze River, east to Shandong Province and west to Gansu and Qinghai provinces, Wang said.

    "This was the first time for cultural integration and might have laid the foundation for today's China. But we still don't know how this happened and why," he said. "We think this settlement is very important to exploring human society at this critical stage."

    The finding at the Yangguanzai site was selected one of the six major archaeological findings of 2008 by the CASS last week.

    Yangshao culture was named after its first settlement at Yangshao village of Henan Province neighboring Shaanxi. It was discovered by Swedish archaeologist Johan Gunnar Andersson and his Chinese colleague Yuan Fuli in 1921. 


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 01:54:53 pm









                      Chinese Used Diamonds To Polish Sapphire-rich Stone In 2500 BC






ScienceDaily
(Feb. 16, 2005)
— CAMBRIDGE, Mass.

-- Researchers have uncovered strong evidence that the ancient Chinese used diamonds to grind and polish ceremonial stone burial axes as long as 6,000 years ago -– and incredibly, did so with a level of skill difficult to achieve even with modern polishing techniques. The finding, reported in the February issue of the journal Archaeometry, places this earliest known use of diamond worldwide thousands of years earlier than the gem is known to have been used elsewhere.

The work also represents the only known prehistoric use of sapphire: The stone worked into polished axes by China's Liangzhu and Sanxingcun cultures around 4000 to 2500 BC has as its most abundant element the mineral corundum, known as ruby in its red form and sapphire in all other colors. Most other known prehistoric artifacts were fashioned from rocks and minerals no harder than quartz.

"The physics of polishing is poorly understood; it's really more an art than a science," says author Peter J. Lu, a graduate student in physics at Harvard University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. "Still, it's absolutely remarkable that with the best polishing technologies available today, we couldn't achieve a surface as flat and smooth as was produced 5,000 years ago."

Lu's work may eventually yield new insights into the origins of ancient China's trademark Neolithic artifacts, vast quantities of finely polished jade objects.

Lu began the research in 1999, as a Princeton University undergraduate. He studied four ceremonial axes, ranging in size from 13 to 22 centimeters, found at the tombs of wealthy individuals. Three of these axes, dating to the Sanxingcun culture of 4000 to 3800 BC and the later Liangzhu culture, came from the Nanjing Museum in China; the fourth, discovered at a Liangzhu culture site at Zhejiang Yuhang Wujiabu in 1993, dates roughly to 2500 BC.

"What's most amazing about these mottled brown and grey stones is that they have been polished to a mirror-like luster," Lu says. "It had been assumed that quartz was used to grind the stones, but it struck me as unlikely that such a fine finish could be the product of polishing with quartz sand."

Lu's subsequent X-ray diffraction, electron microprobe analysis, and scanning electron microscopy of the four axes' composition gave more evidence that quartz could not have polished the stones: Fully 40 percent corundum, the second-hardest material on earth, the only material that could plausibly have been used to finish them so finely was diamond.

To further test whether diamond might have been used to polish the axes, Lu subjected samples of the fourth axe, 4,500 years old and from the Liangzhu culture, to modern machine polishing with diamond, alumina, and a quartz-based silica abrasive. Using an atomic force microscope to examine the polished surfaces on a nanometer scale, he determined that the axe's original, exceptionally smooth surface most closely resembled -– although was still superior to -– modern polishing with diamond.

The use of diamond by Liangzhu craftsmen is geologically plausible, as diamond sources exist within 150 miles of where the burial axes studied by Lu were found. These ancient workers might have sorted diamonds from gravel using an age-old technique where wet diamond-bearing gravels are run over a greased surface such as a fatty animal hide; only the diamonds adhere to the grease.

The next known use of diamond occurred around 500 BC; it was used after 250 BC in ancient India to drill beads. The earliest authors to reference what is likely diamond, Manilius and Pliny the Elder, lived in Rome during the first century AD.

Lu's co-authors are Paul M. Chaikin of New York University; Nan Yao of Princeton University; Jenny F. So of the Chinese University of Hong Kong; George E. Harlow of the American Museum of Natural History; and Lu Jianfang and Wang Genfu of the Nanjing Museum. The work was supported primarily by Harvard University's Asia Center, with additional support from MRSEC grants and Princeton University's Department of Physics.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by Harvard University.
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http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2005/02/050213135123.htm


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 01:57:06 pm
(http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/bigphotos/images/090312-peking-man_big.jpg)






The early human species Homo erectus (represented here by a skull found on the Indonesian island of Java) may have existed in its Peking man form in China 200,000 years earlier than previously thought, a March 2009 study says.



Photograph copyright
Russell L. Ciochon
/University of Iowa via Nature


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 01:58:22 pm








                                Peking Man Lived 200,000 Years Earlier Than Thought





Brian Handwerk
for National Geographic News

March 12, 2009
Peking man—the group of early humans whose 1920s discovery gave a big boost to the theory of evolution—lived hundreds of thousands of years earlier than previously believed, a new study says.

Some researchers believe the discovery hints at two separate migrations of Homo erectus (of which Peking man is a subspecies) out of Africa: one into northeastern China and another into Southeast Asia.

The new dates would also place Peking man in a more hospitable, cooler time period in China's Zhoukoudian region, which today is the world's foremost source of Homo erectus fossils.

Obtained by measuring the decay of isotopes in buried quartz grains, the data suggest Peking man lived at Zhoukoudian about 750,000 years ago—200,000 years earlier than prior estimates, according to the study, led by Guanjun Shen of China's Nanjing Normal University.


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 01:59:16 pm







Fork in the Road



The findings could redraw the map of Homo erectus's journey out of Africa, suggests anthropologist Russell Ciochon, of the University of Iowa, who published an accompanying analysis of the study (both papers appear in today's issue of the journal Nature).

Based on the new research, Peking man likely inhabited China at roughly the same time as other Homo erectus groups, Ciochon said.

Ciochon hypothesizes that a prolonged mass migration of Homo erectus from Africa, which began about two million years ago, eventually came to something like a fork in the road.

Reaching southern China, the early humans would have come upon a subtropical forest, which would have proved uninviting to Homo erectus, who were accustomed to savanna and open woodlands, Ciochon suggests.

One group probably turned southeast and settled in Southeast Asia, he said.

A second group likely turned northeast and moved into what is now China. Part of the group settled the Zhoukoudian region and eventually evolved into the Peking man subspecies, Homo erectus pekinensis.

The Peking man subspecies is believed to have walked fully upright, used sophisticated stone tools, and sported a brain three-fourths the size of a modern human's.


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 02:00:03 pm








They Came for the Game?



In northeastern China during the newly suggested time period, Homo erectus would have likely found a food-rich region similar to the landscapes the species had been accustomed to.

Before Homo erectus' arrival in the Zhoukoudian region, "we think the climate got cooler and drier and maybe moved more toward grasslands, which would attract more game and, in turn, human hunters," Ciochon said.

"And there is every reason to believe that Peking man was eating meat." Telltale animal bones have been found at Peking man sites, for example.


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 02:01:04 pm








Mystery Solved?



New York University paleoanthropologist Susan Antón said she doesn't believe the new data provide evidence for two migrations into Asia.

"It's certainly possible that there were two migrations—or six or nine," said Antón, who was not involved in the new study.

"But in order to talk about that, you would really need to have some evidence along the routes of those pathways and also some sort of anchor point in Africa" that ties both migrations to a single origination region, she said.

Antón did suggest that, by shifting Peking man to the same, earlier time frame as fellow Homo erectus subspecies, the study helps solve a longstanding scientific mystery.

"It was always a bit puzzling as to why you'd have them persisting until relatively late in continental Asia," she said, "when you didn't really see them persisting, for example, in Africa."   


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 02:05:07 pm







                                   'Peking Man' Older Than Thought; Somehow Adapted To Cold






ScienceDaily
(Mar. 12, 2009)

— A new dating method has found that "Peking Man" is around 200,000 years older than previously thought, suggesting he somehow adapted to the cold of a mild glacial period.

A dating method developed by a Purdue University researcher allowed a more accurate determination of the age of the Zhoukoudian, China, site of remains of Homo erectus, commonly known as "Peking Man." The site was found to be 680,000-780,000 years old. Earlier estimates put the age at 230,000-500,000 years old.

Darryl Granger, the Purdue professor of earth and atmospheric sciences who developed the dating method, co-led the study with Guanjun Shen of China's Nanjing Normal University. They analyzed four stone tools and six sediment samples from the site.

"This was the first dating of this kind to be used in an early hominid site in China," Granger said. "Many of the existing data methods rely on the availability of volcanic rock, which the Zhoukoudian site does not have. This method provides a new tool to provide insight into places where dating was previously limited."

Susan C. Antón, associate professor in the Center for the Study of Human Origins at New York University said this discovery indicates "Peking Man" was somehow behaviorally able to cope with the cold environment.

"There is evidence that Homo erectus had physically adapted to the cold, but they probably also had to be doing something in terms of behavior to handle the cold of a glacial period in northern China," she said. "There isn't good evidence of fire or any kind of skins or clothing, but evidence of such things doesn't last long and wouldn't be recorded particularly well in the archeological record. It doesn't mean they didn't have them, but we don't have a definitive answer."

Homo erectus is considered to be the ancestor species to humans and the first species that left Africa and moved into Asia. The "Peking Man" site, discovered in the late 1920s, was among the first found for Homo erectus and shaped the thoughts on the age and behavior of the species, Antón said.

Granger used aluminum-26 and beryllium-10 radioisotopic dating, which is based on radioactive decay in the mineral quartz. As cosmic rays penetrate into rocks at the Earth's surface, chemical reactions produce these isotopes of aluminum and beryllium. If the rocks are then buried, the isotopes are no longer produced and those existing begin to decay. The rate of decay can tell researchers when the rocks were deposited in a site, he said.

Granger developed the method in 1997 and first used it for geomorphology work in caves in Virginia, but he recognized it could be used at hominid sites important to understanding human evolution. A colleague in China contacted Granger and asked him to examine the Zhoukoudian site.

The Purdue Rare Isotope Measurement Laboratory, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, is one of only two laboratories in the nation with equipment capable of performing this kind of dating. The facility contains an accelerator mass spectrometer that can perform ultra-sensitive analyses to measure low levels of trace elements in a sample.

Uranium-based methods of dating had been used at the site, but it appears the results had underestimated the ages, probably due to uranium dissolved in groundwater, Granger said.

Co-authors of the paper include Guanjun Shen and Bin Gao of the College of Geographical Sciences at Nanjing Normal University and Xing Gao of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Academia Sinaca in Beijing.

The research team had difficulties in separating quartz from the sediment samples, and Shen and Gao got their entire department in on the work, Granger said. The sediment contained about 1 percent quartz, and the dating method requires pure white quartz.

"They ended up hand separating these bits of quartz the size of grains of sand," he said. "It took about eight hours to separate 2 grams of the pure white quartz needed, and each sample required 40 to 60 grams. Luckily the stone tools we analyzed were made only of white quartz."

Granger and Shen next plan to work on other poorly dated hominid sites in China.

This project was jointly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and Wenner-Gren Foundation. The Zhoukoudian Site Museum provided the stone tools used.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Journal reference:

Guanjun Shen, Xing Gao, Bin Gao & Darryl E. Granger. Age of Zhoukoudian Homo erectus Determined with Al/Be Burial Dating. Nature, March 12, 2009
Adapted from materials provided by Purdue University.
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http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/03/090312165202.htm


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 02:08:17 pm
(http://media.bonnint.net/apimage/97504586-4573-4441-92c9-03a90b339623.jpg)






In this photo released by Project Exploration, Chinese dinosaur hunter Zhao Xijin, left, and University of Chicago Prof. Paul Sereno, right, compare fossil bones at the site of a buried dinosaur herd in the Gobi Desert of Inner Mongolia, China, May 2001.

Chinese and American scientists who found the 25 fossils of ostrich-like sinornithomimus in China's Gobi Desert say they shed new light on dinosaur social behavior.



(AP Photo
/Project Exploration,
Mike Hettwer, HO)


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 02:09:15 pm










                                             China's Gobi Desert Source Of Rare Dinosaur Find




 

March 16th, 2009
By CHI-CHI ZHANG
Associated Press Writer
BEIJING

- Left on their own by adults, the young dinosaurs sank into the mud beside a lake and died 90 million years ago in what would become the Gobi Desert.

The well-preserved fossils, excavated by a team of Chinese and American scientists, offer a rare bounty of clues about how this herd of ostrich-like sinornithomimus lived _ and died.

Two life-sized models of the sinornithomimus were put on public display for the first time Monday in Hohhot, capital of north China's Inner Mongolia region.

"This is a very exciting discovery, because 99.9 percent of the time, we find a group of skeletons that died at different periods due to unknown causes," said Paul Sereno, a University of Chicago professor on the excavation team. "The other 0.1 percent of the time, scientists consider themselves lucky to find small herds that have been well-preserved after floods or volcanic eruptions, similar to that of Pompeii."

Italy's famous city of Pompeii was buried _ its way of life frozen in time_ in the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79.

Sereno, a paleontologist, helped lead the 2001 expedition that uncovered the fossilized remains of the 25 young sinornithomimus near Suhongtu, a tiny, remote village in the Gobi desert about 370 miles (600 kilometers) west of Hohhot.

The position of the dinosaur bones suggests they were looking for water on the edge of a lake, got stuck and died as the mud engulfed them, Sereno said in a telephone interview. Their hip bones were found at odd angles, indicating scavengers tugged at their carcasses. Crablike organisms were also found surrounding the skeletons, a clue that tells scientists they were covered in water shortly after death, which helped preserve them.

Tan Xinwei, a paleontologist from the Inner Mongolia Department of Land and Resources who also worked on the expedition, said the findings tell researchers that "the youngsters were left to fend for themselves while the adults were preoccupied" with hatching eggs or building nests.

The two-legged, feathered dinosaurs reached about 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall as adults and scavenged for small plants by jutting out their long necks in an ostrich-like fashion, Sereno said.

Xu Xing, a professor at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, called the findings "an important discovery" that could only have happened under a unique set of circumstances.

"Without the correct environmental conditions, these fossils would not have been found in nearly pristine condition _ uncrushed or worn down," said Xu, who was not involved with the project.

The bones were spotted in 1978 by a Chinese geologist and first excavated by a Sino-Japanese team some 20 years later. That team named the dinosaurs sinornithomimus, or "Chinese bird mimic."

It wasn't until 2001 that researchers were able to unearth all 25 skeletons and examine their findings.

The sinornithomimus skeletons were brought to the University of Chicago for research and preservation but will return to China by the end of the year.

The 10-member expedition and research team included scientists from the University of Chicago, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Montana State University, the University of Michigan and Inner Mongolia's Department of Land and Resources. It was financed by the National Geographic Society.



Copyright 2009
The Associated Press.


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 02:12:58 pm
Nikkohl Gallant
Full Member

Posts: 60



    Fresh proof of China being cradle of rice cultivation
« on: March 27, 2009, 10:08:08 pm » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------







                               Fresh proof of China being cradle of rice cultivation






By Lin Shujuan
(chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2009-03-27

Several archaeologists, once split over when human beings turned from nut collectors into rice farmers, seem to have solved their differences after collaborating on a project using methodologies agreed upon by both parties.

Dorian Fuller from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, joined by Zheng Yunfei from Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Antiquity and Archaeology and a few other Chinese archaeologists, investigated rice remains at the Neolithic excavation site of Tianluoshan, part of the local Hemudu Neolithic Culture that goes back 7,000 years in Zhejing province.



(http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/images/attachement/jpg/site1/20090327/0013729e4abe0b366d6101.jpg)

In domesticated rice grains, the spikelet remains attached to the
panicle, until it is threshed.
 


Their research reported in the most recent issue of Science magazine concludes that rice cultivation was slowly domesticated over the course of two or three millennia in the Lower Yangtze region of Zhejiang, China between 6,900 and 6,600 years ago.

"The Hemudu people may not have been the first to initiate rice cultivation, but they certainly did cultivate rice and eventually domesticate it," Zheng tells China Daily.



Related reading:

 Yield-enhancing gene identified in rice



As one of the oldest rice cultivation bases in the world, Hemudu has attracted much research interest. But not everyone was convinced with the results.

Chinese archaeologists, believe that by the early Holocene (the period starting about 10,000 years ago), Neolithic people in both north and south China may have been harvesting wild rice and initiating rice cultivation that eventually led to domestication, according to Zheng.

Hence, when huge layers of rice remains were discovered in the Hemudu sites in the 1970s, Hemudu was immediately regarded as China's, and probably the world's, cradle of rice cultivation, says Zheng.

Fuller doubted the conclusion as it was based on "presumed domestication", with the long process of domestication "taken for granted, unproven and unquestioned".

Instead, Fuller argued in the study of agricultural origins, it is "prudent to presume plants are wild until evidence can be found to indicate domestication."

Zheng and many other Chinese archaeologists disagreed, saying their research had uncovered traces of the domestication process in many Hemudu sites. They said they had been able to tell the wild grains from domesticated ones, from their sizes.

But professor Qin Ling from Peking University, who is a member of the research team, says: "Grain size is a very indicator as different varieties might have varied sizes in different climate and environment even over the same period of time. But Fuller wanted hard evidence."

Hence, the team turned to another important trait for rice domestication — loss of seed shattering.

Wild rice shatters automatically, while domesticated rice will not, even when it reaches maturity. It needs to be threshed, explains Qin.

As they dug at the Hemudu site, Qin explains, they observed that the percentage of rice remains among all plant remains went up from eight to 24 percent.

This pointed to the increasing dietary importance of rice over time at the site.

The researchers also separated the rice remains into three categories (wild, domestic, and immature) based on their shattering signs, and determined that as time progressed, the domestic type of rice had increased in occurrence from about 27 to 39 percent over the course of 300 years.

"It is on the basis of this indicator that we have come to our conclusion, convincing not only us but also others," says Qin.



http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-03/27/content_7623278.htm


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 02:17:43 pm








                                   Early Chinese May Have Eaten Millet Before Rice





(http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/content/vol2009/issue325/images/200932511.jpg)

Waves of grain.

Farmers in northern China built their civilization on millet and also fed it to their dogs (inset).


Credit:
Loukas Barton


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 02:18:57 pm










                                    Early Chinese May Have Eaten Millet Before Rice






By Michael Balter
ScienceNOW Daily News
25 March 2009

The bones of dogs, pigs, and humans are shedding light on the rise of civilization in China. These remains contain a signature of the plants that all three species ate at the time and suggest that the ancient Chinese may have farmed millet before rice, new research shows.

The millet group of plants, like rice and wheat, are grasses that produce small, edible seeds.

Archaeologists have long known that they were domesticated very early in China and India; the earliest known noodles, which are 4000 years old and were reported by a Chinese team in 2005, were made of millet. Although rice was domesticated in China's warm and humid south, millet was domesticated in the north of the country, where conditions were much colder and drier. Yet archaeologists have debated whether these developments were independent or whether rice farmers from the south migrated north and began to cultivate wild millet--which grows much better than rice does in cold and dry conditions--thus transforming it into domesticated varieties.

A Chinese-American team led by Loukas Barton, an archaeologist at the University of California, Davis, and Seth Newsome, an ecologist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Washington, D.C., tackled the debate at the early farming village of Dadiwan in northwest China. Dadiwan, which was first settled about 8000 years ago and produced China's earliest known painted pottery, was excavated in the 1970s and again in 2006. The site contains some fossilized fragments of millet, which is the main plant found there, but not enough to elucidate its domestication.

So the team looked instead at the remains of dogs, pigs, and humans who appear to have consumed the grain. Millet is a so-called C4 plant, which has a very efficient photosynthetic system for capturing carbon dioxide, whereas most other plants that grow in northern China are less efficient C3 plants. Because C4 plants concentrate more of carbon's heavier isotopes compared with C3 plants, a technique called stable isotope analysis--which measures the relative concentrations of isotopes in animal bones--can often detect which plants predominate in the diet.

The team found that the isotopic signature of bones located at the site changed over time. In the first phase of occupation at Dadiwan, between 7900 and 7200 years ago, pigs ate only C3 plants, whereas most of the dogs had C4 signatures, meaning that they ate millet. (Human bones from this phase were not available for analysis.) But during the second occupation phase, 6500 to 4900 years ago, all human and dog bones, and the great majority of pig bones, showed strong C4 signatures, indicating that all of their diets contained a lot of millet.

The team, which reports its results online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concludes that millet was farmed at Dadiwan in its earliest phases but not by rice farmers from the south. Rather, the presence of pigs with C3 signatures implies that they were wild; the early dogs with C4 signatures, on the other hand, were probably domesticated and being fed millet by humans. That means Dadiwan was likely settled by local hunters who were farming on the side. Later, when millet farming intensified, it became the mainstay of an integrated agricultural system that included millet-eating domesticated pigs and dogs. These findings, the team says, suggest that millet farming helped fuel the rise of the Yangshao culture, one of north-central China's most important early civilizations.

Dorian Fuller, an archaeologist at University College London, calls the report "an important new study" that "provide a novel methodology for thinking about the development and intensification of agriculture." Moreover, Fuller says, domestication of millet was apparently under way in northern China at a time when farmers in the south were just beginning to cultivate wild rice. The study provides definitive evidence "for millet agriculture developing earlier than full-fledged rice agriculture." 


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 02:20:47 pm









                          Chinese Scientists Find New Clue for Modern Vertebrate Origins






2009-03-26     
Xinhua News
Web Editor: Zhang Jin 
 
Chinese scientists' discovery of an intact and ancient fish fossil might bring the search for modern vertebrate origins out of the Devonian age (416 to 359 million years ago) and into the preceding period.

In early May 2008, Zhu Min, a scientist with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, along with his research team, found a bony fish fossil, which represents the oldest complete gnathostome, or jawed vertebrate, ever found in the world in Qujin, southwest China's Yunnan Province. The fossil was preserved in 418-million-year-old limestone.

Zhu and his team published an article about the finding in the British journal, Nature, on Thursday.

The fossil, which Zhu nicknamed "Dreamlike Ghost fish", or Guiyu oneiros, shows the skeletal anatomy of a small sarcopterygian, around 33 centimeters long.

It offers insights into the origin and early divergence of osteichthyes (bony fish plus tetrapods), as it exhibits a mosaic of gnathostome characters and fills in the morphological gap between osteichthyans and non-osteichthyan groups, Zhu said.

"Crucially, this piscine offshoot of our own distant past is both unusually intact and exceptionally old," Michael I. Coates from the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago wrote in a commentary accompanying Zhu's article in Nature.

The early split of the jawed vertebrate and the origins of bony fish play very important roles in the evolutionary history of vertebrates.

"By pushing a whole series of branching points in gnathostome evolution out of the Devonian and into the Silurian, the discovery of Guiyu also signals that a significant part of early vertebrate evolution is unknown," Coates said.

A summary of vertebrate diversity helps to understand the significance of Guiyu in the evolutionary history. Of the 51,000 or more living species of vertebrates, 99.9 percent have jaws: these are the gnathostomes. Gnathostomes include the bony Osteichthyes and the cartilaginous Chondrichthyes. Chondrichthyes (sharks, rays and chimaeras) account for only 2 percent of gnathostome species. Osteichthyes account for the other 98 percent.

European scientists began to carry out studies on bony fish in the Silurian period (443 to 416 million years ago) four decades ago, but were only able to find fragmentary fossils such as scales or fin-spines. Those fossils were not adequate to piece together the comprehensive features of the bony fish ancestors.

At the beginning of this century, European scientists intensified their efforts in finding bony fish fossils and Nature reported the discovery of two incomplete fish jaw fossils in 2007.

Still, there are many doubts and questions on the Silurian bony fish which remain unsolved. A complete ancient fish, recovered from the depositions which were 400 to 350 million years old, could help answer those questions, Zhu said.

The discovery of Guiyu further proved that the evolutionary history of osteichthyans (bony fish plus tetrapods) extends back to the Silurian period.

"On the whole, early fossils are thought to be unreliable as minimum-date markers of evolutionary branching events, because they are less complete or lack the full anatomical signature of the group to which they are assigned," said Coates.

"Guiyu might be an exception that proves the rule, for it provides a new and exceptionally reliable earliest fossil marker for a major split in vertebrate evolution," he said.

Coates predicted that Chinese scientists' discovery would provoke a rash of new fieldwork in the Silurian depositions and a fresh look at existing collections of pre-Devonian fossils.


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 02:23:21 pm
(http://www.cctv.com/program/cultureexpress/20090416/images/1239850413043_1239850413043_r.jpg)

Archeologists from the Chifeng Cultural Academy have scrutinized a flute
made of bones, which was unearthed at the Xinglongwa Site in Inner Mongolian
in 1986. 










                                                        Ancient flute found in Xinglongwa






WATCH VIDEO
http://www.cctv.com/program/cultureexpress/20090416/101611.shtml
Source: CCTV.com
04-16-2009

Traditional Chinese musical instruments are believed to have originated from the reign of Huangdi, or the Yellow Emperor, some two thousand years ago. But a recent discovery by the Chifeng Cultural Academy in Inner Mongolia suggests that Chinese musical instruments could be 3-thousand years older than previously calculated.

Archeologists from the Chifeng Cultural Academy have scrutinized a flute made of bones, which was unearthed at the Xinglongwa Site in Inner Mongolian in 1986. The ancient flute has long been kept at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. It wasn't until recently that the flute was shown to the public.

The ancient flute was made from the bones of bustard, a kind of bird usually seen in Northeast China. The tube is 18 centimeters long, with finger holes still evident. But it's main structure has partially eroded. Experts have restored the piece and professional musicians have been invited to play the flute.

The Xinglongwa Site, where the ancient flute was unearthed, is the birthplace of the Xinglongwa Culture, a Neolithic culture in Northeast China found mainly around the border of Inner Mongolia and Liaoning Province. It is the earliest archeological culture in China to feature jade artifacts and to depict dragons.

Apart from the flute, archeologists have also discovered graves at the site. It is thought that the owner of the grave site was male, who was probably the owner of the flute.


Title: Re: CHINA - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 02:25:01 pm
(http://www.travelchinaguide.com/images/map/henan/henan-china.gif)









                                   China's earliest known carving found in central Henan Province 
 
 




www.chinaview.cn
 ZHENGZHOU,
April 28, 2009
(Xinhua)

-- Chinese archaeologists say they have identified the country's earliest known carving -- a deer antler sculpted into the shape of a bird -- dating back 12,000 to 15,000 years.

    The fossilized grey figurine, which is 2.1 centimeters long, 1.2 centimeters high and 0.6 centimeters thick, was found in Xuchang County in China's central Henan Province in March.

    It is made from evenly-heated antler, and vividly carved with amicrolithic cutting tool.

    "The carving technique is more exquisite than the western carvings of its time," said Li Zhanyang, head of the archeological team in Xuchang, and a researcher with the Henan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology.

    Carvings of the late Paleolithic Age have been found in western countries, such as 30,000-year-old ivory horse and mammoth carvings at Vogelherd Cave in Germany, and human profile carvings at a cave in La Marche, France, that are about 10,000 years old.

    The bird figurine was unique in its feet that were carved with symmetrical sockets that enable it to stand stably, said Li. "This demonstrates that human beings already had a good grip of the equilibrium principal then."

    Li said the bird carving might have been left by hunters when they were very active in Henan Province around the Last Glacial Maximum period, which started about 25,000 years ago. It could have been a totem to represent good luck and freedom.

    If the bird carving could be exactly dated, it would provide important background for the research on the techniques, aesthetic and expression, as well as inter-regional migration and communication of human beings of that time, said Gao Xing, head of National Natural Science Foundation of China.

    The bird carving is not the first find at that site. In 2007 and2008, Chinese archaeologists announced that they found more than 30,000 relics in Xuchang, including human skull fossils dating back 80,000 to 100,000 years.

    The ancient skull was named Xuchang Man after the location. Scientists said the discovery was expected to provide direct evidence for the origins of modern Chinese and East Asian human species.