The mandibles of Sinanthropus pekinensis (Peking Man)

In 1923, the first specimen (a molar) of a new human ancestor was found in Zhoukoudian, near Beijing, China. Many more fossils were found in the area, and Canadian paleontologist Davidson Black named this new ancestor Sinanthropus pekinensis, "Peking Man" (after the city of Beijing, spelled Peking before the Pinyin romanization system was adopted. The city was also known as Beiping or Peiping from 1928 to 1949). Today Sinanthropus is considered to be an example of Homo erectus.

Most of the fossils had been kept at the Union Medical College in Beijing, in the Cenozoic Research Laboratory, founded by Black in 1928. In 1941, while Beijing was under Japanese occupation, but before war was declared between Japan and the Allied Forces, these fossils were moved for safe-keeping, but disappeared en route.

Recently transferred to Special Collections & Archives from the Davis Centre Library is this comparative study of mandibles of Sinanthropus pekinensis,  published in Palaeontologia Sinica by Franz Weidenreich, who took over from Davidson Black as honorary director of the Cenozoic Research Laboratory in 1935. Accompanying the study are many beautiful plates, some with overlays.

Within the book was a card from Dr Franz Weidenreich.

Front cover of Palaeontologia Sinica

Card from Dr Franz Weidenreich

"With the compliments of the Cenozoic Laboratory Geological Survey of China and the Department of Anatomy Peiping Union Medical College Peiping, China. From Dr. Franz Weidenreich"

 Sinanthropus mandibulae

Plate with overlay.

 overlay calling attention to certain features.

Overlay

 skiagrams

Plate without overlay.

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