The three earlier excavations at the Long Gupo site in China's Chongqing Municipality not only gave rise to the 2-million-year-old hominid fossils, but also a wealth of stone tools and animal remains. Though more fossil evidence is coming our way, many strongly believe that the Three Gorges Area in Southwest China is the birthplace of "East-Asian" hominids.
Three excavations have been carried out at the site of Long Gupo in Wushan Moutain. Each churning out more finds about the geography, animal and human predecessors that co-inhabited this land. The first excavation began in 1985 shook the world with the fossil discovery of a 2-million-year-old "Wushan Man." Stone artifacts around the site were examined during a second phase of excavation between 1997 and 1998. Then, Chinese scientists partnered up with researchers from France in 2003 in a third phase of excavation.
During a period of 3-years, the scientists exhumed large quantities of animal fossils, ranging from elephants, to rhinoceros and deers--all scattered around an area of stone tools. Leading many experts to believe that the animals could well have been Wushan Man's "last meals." The third excavation uncovered fossil remains of more than 120 species of vertebrates, including 116 species of mammals.
The fourth and current excavation is being conducted in the same stratigraphic interval in which the stone tools and Wushan Man fossils were found. And the finds are promising.
Huang Wanbo, paleontologist of China Academy of Sciences, said, "I'm proposing a new hypothesis that there were these hominids particular to the East-Asian area. And it's very likely that the 'Wushan Man' is an ancestor of these East-Asian hominids. The carbon-dating on the Wushan Man fossils certainly suggests that. And where exactly is the cradle of the 'East-Asian Man?' I think it's around the Three Gorges, at Long Gupo."
If Professor Huang's hypothesis is to be corroborated, the area of the Three Gorges that nurtured the Chinese civilization could very well become the cradle of modern East-Asians.