Chinese archaeologists said Wednesday that they have discovered fossils of pandas and apes dating back to 400,000 years ago in south China's Hainan Province.
The fossils, mostly those of teeth, were first discovered in a quarry site in June 2006 in Changjiang Li Autonomous County by a team of Chinese archaeologists, according to Huang Wanbo, a professor from Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Huang said the discovery proved that pandas and great apes lived in Hainan about 400,000 years ago and the island was then part of the Chinese mainland.
Giant pandas are one of the world's most endangered species. Just 1,590 giant pandas are estimated to live in the wild, mostly in southwest China's mountainous regions. By the end of 2006, about 239 giant pandas lived in captivity in China.
(Xinhua News Agency December 6, 2007)