The Gongwangling (Lantian) cranial fragments were discovered at a small hill near Gongwang Village, east of Lantian, in 1964 by a team from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Beijing (Wu and Poirier, 1995; Wu et al., 1966). The first hominid fossil to be found was an isolated maxillary molar and several months later this was followed by large cranial vault fragments. A large quantity of mammalian faunal material was also recovered from the site. A dominance of tropical and subtropical species has suggested a warmer climate than today (Gu and Jablonski, 1989; Qi, 1989). There are a range of paleomagnetic dates for the hominid locality, with a choice of 750,000 to 800,000, 1 million, or 1.15 million years depending upon how the sequence is interpreted (An et al., 1990; An and Ho, 1989; Wu et al., 1989). have described the artifacts from the Gongwangling site as being primarily cores (11), with five flakes and four scrapers (Dai, 1966; Tai and Hsu, 1973).

The hominid skeletal materials were first described in detail by (Woo, 1965). A detailed English language discussion of Gongwangling can be found in Beijing (Wu and Poirier, 1995). The human fossils (PA 1051-6) include a complete frontal, large part of the parietals, most of the right temporal, part of the left and right nasals, and a large section of the right maxilla with associated second and third molars, and part of the left maxilla. Unfortunately, preservation of the bone fragments is extremely poor. There is some distortion through ground pressure and marked erosion of external bone surfaces. Features suggestive of Homo erectus are most apparent in the frontal bone which is broad, receding and has a robust supraorbital torus. There is marked postorbital constriction and no sulcus between the torus and frontal squama. Cranial vault bones are also relatively thickened, certainly compared with Homo erectus from Zhoukoudian, but to what extent this has been influenced by post-depositional processes is unclear.

   

Latest research on Gongwangling (Lantien)

Zhu Z-Y, Dennell R, Huang W-W, Wu Y, Rao Z-G, Qiu S-F, Xie J-B, Liu W, Fu S-Q, Han J-W et al. . 2015. New dating of the Homo erectus cranium from Lantian (Gongwangling), China. J Hum Evol 78(0):144-157.

http://phys.org/news/2014-11-age-lantian-homo-erectus-cranium.html

Access to Gongwangling

Gongwangling is housed in the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Beijing, China. Research workers interested in access to Gongwangling should write to Professor Wu Rukang or Professor Wu Xinzhi, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Academia Sinica, PO Box 164, Beijing, Peoples Republic of China.

References

An Z, Gao W, Zhu Y, Kan X, Wang J, Sun J, and Wei M (1990) Magnetostratigraphic dates of Lantian Homo erectus. Acta Anthropologica Sinica 9:1-7.

An Z, and Ho CK (1989) New Magnetostratigraphic dates of Lantian Homo erectus. Quaternary Research 32:213-221.

Dai E (1966) The paleoliths found at Lantian man locality of Gongwangling and its vicinity. Vertebrata PalAsiatica 10:30-34.

Gu Y, and Jablonski N (1989) A reassessment of Megamacaca lantianensis of Gongwangling, Shaanxi Province. Acta Anthropologica Sinica 8:343-346.

Qi G (1989) Quaternary mammalian faunas and environment of fossil humans in north China. In R Wu, X Wu and S Zhang (eds.): Early humankind in China. Beijing: Science Press, pp. 276-337.

Tai E, and Hsu C (1973) New finds of paleoliths from Lantian. Kaogu Xuebao 2:1-12.

Woo J (1965) The hominid skull of Lantian, Shensi. Vertebrata PalAsiatica 10:1-22.

Wu R, Wu X, and Zhang S, eds. (1989) Early humankind in China. Beijing: Science Press.

Wu X, and Poirier FE (1995) Human evolution in China. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wu X, Yuan Z, Han D, Qi T, and Lu Q (1966) Report of the excavation at Lantian man locality of Gongwangling in 1965. Vertebrata PalAsiatica 10:23-30.

Zhu Z-Y, Dennell R, Huang W-W, Wu Y, Rao Z-G, Qiu S-F, Xie J-B, Liu W, Fu S-Q, Han J-W et al. . 2015. New dating of the Homo erectus cranium from Lantian (Gongwangling), China. J Hum Evol 78(0):144-157.