A new round of excavation is underway at Long Gupo Site in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. This marks the fourth excavation at Long Gupo, the site where China's oldest hominid fossils have been found.
Yet, experts quarrelled over whether the fossils belonged to a pre-historic man or an ape. This time, researchers hope to find more fossil remains to further shed light on the "missing link."
Previous excavations uncovered precious fragments of fossil remains of what many scientists believe to be a subspecies of Homo erectus. It advanced the time when hominids first entered Asia to before 2 million years ago. A fragment from a lower jawbone and an incisor unearthed from the previous excavation, however, proved insufficient to corroborate the claims.
Now, paleoanthropologists are getting down and dirty once again, in hopes that more hominid fossil remains and stone tools will confirm previous finds.
Huang Wanbo, paleontologist of China Academy of Sciences, said, "Because there were very little hominid finds from previous excavation, we hope that this excavation will turn up more hominid fossils. For example, more complete mandibles. Of course, complete skulls would be ideal. It's very promising."
The Long Gupo Site located on the Wushan Mountain in Chongqing is hailed as one of the best preserved Paleolithic sites in Asia, having given rise to an abundance of cultural relics as well as more than 100 species of animal fossils. The Long Gupo hominid fossil remains predated an earlier Yuanmou man discovered in Southwest China's Yunnan Province in the 1960s by about 300-thousand years.