Earliest Inhabitants

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Beijing's earliest recorded fossil remains are those of the Peking Man dating back 500,000 years. The remains providing evidence of daily life, including stone tools and the use of fire as well as decorative items were found at Zhoukoudian, in Beijing’s southwestern suburbs, but today’s environment and climate are a world away from what the Peking Man would have experienced. A warmer, more humid, forested environment would have been able to support vast numbers of wildlife, providing an ideal ecosystem in which man could flourish.

Where to see the Peking Man fossils?

Cave of Peking Man at Zhoukoudian (周口店猿人遗址)

The mystery of the missing skull

In 1929 in Beijing, archeologists unearthed five humanoid skulls and dozens of other fragments thought to be half a million years old. During World War II, however, they want missing soon after being shipped to the United States in an attempt to keep them safe. China, the United States and Japan have been searching for the fossils ever since.

Bust of Peking Man on permanent display at Zhoukoudian.

Bust of Peking Man on permanent display at Zhoukoudian.

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