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Human Civilization Traced to Drunken Ape
Through years of study, paleontologists from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences conclude that Jiangsu and Anhui provinces centered around the Shuanggou area might be a place of origin for the world’s human inhabitants. The announcement was made at the annual meeting of Shuanggou Drunken Ape International Scientific Research which opened May 12 in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province.

The research was conducted by Li Chuankui, You Yuzhu, Xu Qinqi and Ji Hongxiang.

Professor Li Chuankui found the earliest gibbon fossil in the southeast of Songlin Village in Shunaggou area, Jiangsu, in 1977. The fossil, worn by water, is totally different from others found in Africa, Europe and Asia. The following year, Professor Li published an article on the Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology journal depicting his discovery. The article, entitled "Gibbon Fossil of Miocene Epoch in Sihong of Jiangsu Province," gave the fossil a name: "Shuanggou Drunken Ape." Experts believe the gibbon was drunk at the time. According to the stratum the fossil was found and 65 associated animal fossils, Li judged the "Shuanggou Drunken Ape" is from the Miocene Epoch, which dates back 10 million year ago.

Li said that Jiangsu and Anhui provinces, or the Shuanggou area in a wider sense, boasts a favorable ecological environment. Here typical findings have been made, including mammals, primates, anthropoid, Miocene Epoch ancient ape, ape-man and Homo sapiens. Therefore, it is inferred that the Shunanggou area is one of the centers of organism evolution and human civilization.

Evidences show that the Shuanggou area had experienced the transition from forest to grassland, and then back to forest. That's why so many paleoanthropological ruins and fossils are found here. These changes might have helped the transformation from ape to man.

Experts and scholars at the meeting say the Shuanggou area has become a center of paleoanthropological evolution widely concerned by East Asia and the world. It plays a significant role in the study of distribution and development of ancient people in China.

It is known that a paleoanthropological fossil dating back 40,000 years was also found in Xiacaowan of Shuanggou area, which is close to the Upper Cave Man of Zhoukoudian discovered in Beijing. Chinese Academy of Sciences academician Wu Rukang and the late academician Jia Lanpo, after carefully studying the thighbone of the Xiacaowan man, concluded that it belongs to later period Homo sapiens, who is almost the same with modern man. Experts believe the Xiacaowan men are descendants of Beijing Ape Man and that they are also ancestors of modern Chinese.

(科学时报 [Science Times] by Pan Feng, translated by Li Jinhui for China.org.cn, May 18, 2002)

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