China to fund search for origins of early humans

June 27, 2013 at 5:41 PM
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ZHANGJIAKOU, China, June 27 (UPI) -- Officials in China's Hebei province say they'll fund a new project to search for early human fossils that may identify a new cradle of mankind.

An investment of $800,000 will fund studies on early human activities and searches for fossils at a site in the city of Zhangjiakou, Xie Fei, vice director of the cultural heritage bureau of Hebei, said.

Xie, also the project's leading researcher, said the work was launched earlier this month with the goal of identifying the site's status as a possible "cradle of the Orientals."

First discovered in 1921, the Nihewan Site has yielded ancient animal fossils and stone tools dating back 2 million years, findings that have challenged the theory that Africa was the sole origin of mankind, Xie said.

Among the finds made so far was a dining site where early hunters ate their game, including elephants, researchers said.

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