Cenozoic Research Laboratory

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The Cenozoic Research Laboratory (Chinese: 新生代地质与环境研究室) of the Geological Survey of China was established within the Peking Union Medical College in 1928 by Canadian paleoanthropologist Davidson Black and Chinese geologists Ding Wenjing and Weng Wenhao for the research and appraisal of Peking Man fossils unearthed at Zhoukoudian.

History[edit]

Davidson Black founded the laboratory with an $80,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and stayed on as honorary director until he died in his office, surrounded by his finds, in 1934.[1] He was replaced by German Jewish anthropologist Franz Weidenreich.

Excavations at Zhoukoudian ceased in 1937 with the Japanese occupation and the fossils from the site were locked in the laboratory safe under the assumption that they would be secure at the American-run hospital.[2]

However in the summer of 1941, fearing imminent war between America and Japan, Weidenreich ordered copies of the bones to be made. When this task had been completed secretary Hu Chengzi packed up the fossils so they could be shipped to the U.S. for safekeeping until the end of the war. They were never seen again.[3]

Now only Weidenreich’s timely copies and the research notes of the staff remain to demonstrate the pioneering work of this laboratory that is considered to be the precursor of the modern Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Science.

Staff[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Melvin, Sheila (October 11, 2005). "Archaeology: Peking Man, still missing and missed". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved April 20, 2008. "Black died at his office desk in the middle of the night with a skullcap of Peking Man beside him." 
  2. ^ Melvin, Sheila (October 11, 2005). "Archaeology: Peking Man, still missing and missed". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved April 20, 2008. "Although there was some discussion of moving the bones after the Japanese invasion in 1937, they were apparently assumed to be safe because they were housed in the American-run Peking Union Medical Hospital, which oversaw the Cenozoic Research Lab." 
  3. ^ Melvin, Sheila (October 11, 2005). "Archaeology: Peking Man, still missing and missed". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved April 20, 2008. "Franz Weidenreich, a German who led the Cenozoic Lab after Black's death, insisted that copies of all the Peking Man bones be made in the summer of 1941 because he feared (correctly) that Japanese would take over the lab if war broke out with the United States. But it was not until the late autumn of 1941 that the bones were crated and sent to the American controller of Peking Union Medical College for shipment to the United States - and vanished forever." 
  4. ^ "Bian Mienian (1908-2002)". Peking Man Site Museum. "Graduated from the Geological Department of Yanjing University, a student of famous Irish geologist Barbour. During spring 1931 to 1937, he joined the Cenozoic Research laboratory of the Geological Survey of China in the excavation of Zhoukoudian.”" 
  5. ^ "Davidson Black (1884-1934)". Peking Man Site Museum. "Canadian comparative anatomist. In 1921 he worked as director of the Anatomy Department of Beijing Union Medical College. After the establishment of Cenozoic Research Laboratory, he worked as its honorary director to take charge of the research and appraisal of Peking Man fossils from Zhoukoudian.”" 
  6. ^ "Ding Wenjing (1887-1936)". Peking Man Site Museum. "Famous Chinese geologist and one of the important founding fathers of Chinese geological science. In 1916, he worked as the director of the Geological Survey of China and facilitated the excavation at Zhoukoudian and the establishment of the Cenozoic Research Laboratory together with Davidson Black and Weng Wenhao. He worked as honorary director of the Cenozoic Research Laboratory at the early stage of the excavation work at Zhokoudian.”" 
  7. ^ "Jia Lanpo (1908-2001)". Peking Man Site Museum. "In 1931, he worked in the Cenozoic Research Laboratory of the Geological Survey of China as a trainee. In April of the same year, he joined the excavation at Zhokoudian. In 1935 he was promoted as a technical assistant, in December.”" 
  8. ^ "Pei Wenzhong (1904-1982)". Peking Man Site Museum. "Chinese prehistoric archaeologist and palaeontologist. Finder of the first skull of Peking Man. He confirmed the existence of stoned wares, burnt bones and ash fire used at Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian and specified the cultural nature of Peking Man. During 1933 to 1934, he presided over the excavation of Upper Cave site and worked as the director of Zhoukoudian Office of Cenozoic Research Laboratory of the Geological Survey of China.”" 
  9. ^ "P. Tiehard de Chardin (1881-1955)". Peking Man Site Museum. "French vertebrate palaeontologist and geologist. In 1926 he joined the research by the Geological Survey of China on Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian. He worked as a consultant of Cenozoic Research Laboratory for a long time.”" 
  10. ^ "F. Weidenreich (1873-1948)". Peking Man Site Museum. "German anatomist and physique anthropologist. During 1935 to 1941, he worked as professor on anatomy at Beijing Union Medical College. In 1935, he assumed the office of honorary director of Cenozoic Research Laboratory of the geological Survey of China to take charge in research on the fossils of Peking Man.”" 
  11. ^ "Yang Zhongjian (1897-1979)". Peking Man Site Museum. "Chinese geologist and vertebrate palaeontologist. In 1928, he worked as a technician of Geological Survey of China, and took charge of the excavation at Zhokoudian. After the establishment of the Cenozoic Research Laboratory, he had been working as its director of Vertebrate Palaeontological Laboratory, the director of the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology of Chinese Academy of Sciences respectively.”" 

External links[edit]