'Peking Man' wore clothes and was an expert fire builder


Scientists excavating caves near Beijing have discovered that the Peking Man, an ancient human ancestor, donned animal hides as clothes and may have been an expert fire-builder.

Scientists have been studying the Chinese cave where the Peking Man fossils were first discovered in 1923 and have built up a remarkable account of what life was like for the early human, who existed between 750,000 and 200,000 years ago.

The re-excavation, in the village of Zhoukoudian, near Beijing, has unearthed fascinating details proving our ancestors were more advanced than previously believed, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Science said that a 3,000-year-old living room, or 'activity floor', had been discovered in the cave, containing what could be a fireplace.

The Peking Man was outfitted, wearing animal hides that had been softened using stone tools, researchers said.

Belonging to the species Homo erectus, the Peking Man was able to make fire, work wood and bizarrely drilled holes in objects for as yet unknown reasons.

Using powerful microscopes, the scientists are examining tools used by the Peking Man to gain more details about their use.

Chen Shen, a curator at the Toronto Museum and a special member of the academy, said that it was also likely the species had attached stone points to sticks, creating spears.

The discovery could be significant as it shows the Peking Man potentially joining two materials to form a tool.

The Chinese cave system is one of the most important Palaeolithic sites ever discovered. Archaeologists unearthed thousands of stone tools and hundreds of fragmentary remains from about 40 early humans as they worked on the site between 1921 and 1966.

The human remains discovered in the cave were later assigned to the species Homo erectus.

The original fossils of the Peking Man vanished in 1941 as they were being transported to America at the peak of World War II.

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