Tests find human skull age exceeds 10,000 years

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, January 15, 2019
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A human skull found near China's border with Mongolia and Russia is more than 10,000 years old, researchers announced on Saturday.

A guide shows a human skull found in Jalainur district of Manzhouli, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, at the district's museum earlier this month. [Photo/Xinhua]

A carbon-14 dating study on four skull samples discovered in the Jalainur district of Manzhouli in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region confirmed that the oldest dated to about 10,113 years ago. The other three were found to be 7,400 years, 1,600 years and 1,000 years old, Wu Xiaohong of Peking University's school of archaeology and museology, told a news conference in Beijing.

"These findings prove that humans had lived in the Jalainur area for 10,000 years," said Wu, a team member involved in the study. The study, which began in March, was conducted by researchers from Peking University and the archaeology school at Jilin University.

Jalainur, a county-level district under the jurisdiction of Manzhouli, is located near Russia and Mongolia. It is believed to be the origin of the prairie culture of northern China. Historical records show that major northern clans, including Xiongnu, Xianbei and Khitan, once lived there.

The first Jalainur skull was found in 1933 by coal miners digging in an open pit. By 1996, 22 such skulls had been discovered.

Because most of these human skulls were not excavated by professional archaeologists from the original formations in which they were found, it was hard to determine exactly how old they were, said Zhu Hong, a team member from Jilin University.

The carbon-14 study has settled the dating problem, and the results and the pottery ruins unearthed there prove that Jalainur people lived in the Neolithic Age at least 10,000 years ago, Zhu said.

Wang Wei, president of the Chinese Society of Archaeology, said the Jalainur skulls were found at the highest latitude in China, adding that stone tool making skills had become relatively mature by the time these individuals lived.

"They had learned to turn stones into slim blades and bind them onto bone tools as knife edges for cutting animals," said Wang, adding such skills were the most advanced in the world at that time.

Zhu of Jilin University said a physical anthropology study was also undertaken, analyzing the DNA data of the Jalainur skulls. Results will be announced later, he said.

He also said more skulls were likely to be uncovered.

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