|18 January 2019
Tests find human skull age exceeds 10,000 years
A human skull found about 1,000 kilometres north of Beijing in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region near China's border with Russia is more than 10,000 years old. A carbon-14 dating study on four skull samples confirmed that the oldest dated to about 10,113 years ago. The other three were found to be 7,400, 1,600, and 1,000 years old. The area is believed to be the origin of the prairie culture of northern China.
The first skull was found in 1933 by coal miners digging in an open pit. By 1996, 22 such skulls had been discovered. Because most were not excavated by professional archaeologists, it was difficult to determine exactly how old they were. Many have since been lost.
Wang Wei, president of the Chinese Society of Archaeology, says: "They had learned to turn stones into slim blades and bind them onto bone tools as knife edges for cutting animals," adding that such skills were the most advanced in the world at that time.
DNA analysis of the skulls will be announced later, and more skulls may be found.
Edited from Xinhuanet (12 January 2019), China.org.cn (14 and 15 January 2019)
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