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Discoverer of Peking Man Dies at 92

People from around the world jammed telephone lines at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology yesterday after learning of the death of Jia Lanpo, who discovered three fossilized Peking Man skulls in 1936.

Jia, senior academician at the CAS and also academic at US and Russian science academies, died of a cerebral haemorrhage with complications of viscera failure at 11:44 am on Sunday at the age of 92. He was sent to Beijing Hospital on March 19 because of paroxysmal encephalemia.

According to CAS sources, an official funeral is scheduled for July 16 at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery, where many famous Chinese people are buried.

In line with his own will, Jia's cremated remains will be placed in Zhoukoudian in the southwestern suburbs of Beijing, where the Peking Man skulls were found.

With his outstanding research on paleontology and paleoanthropology, Jia was regarded as China's first outstanding leader in the world of natural sciences in modern times.

After finding the treasured skulls, Jia dated the history of homo erectus back to 500,000 years ago.

Sticking to the life-long principle, Jia even studied and wrote books in his 90s.

In addition, being deeply concerned with the Peking Man skull fossils lost during the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937-45), Jia, together with 13 CAS senior academicians, published an open letter asking people across the world to look for the fossils, whose whereabout is still unknown till today.

(China Daily 07/10/2001)

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