Hualong Cave (simplified Chinese: 华龙; traditional Chinese: 華龍; pinyin: huálóng dòng; literally: 'flowery/elegant dragon cave') is a cave in Pangwang village in Dongzhi County, Anhui Province, China, and situated on the southern bank of Yangtze. It is located on the side of Meiyuan Hill. Palaeontological interest started in 2004 when a farmer accidentally found bones that were later identified as mammalian fossils. Excavations started in 2006 by paleontologists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It has yielded many stone tools and over 30 human fossils, and animal bones including those of Ailuropoda, Arctonyx, Bubalus, Sinomegaceros, Stegodon, giant tapir, and giant pandas. The most notable fossils are that of a Homo erectus (dubbed Dongzhi Man) described in 2014, and that of a 300,000-year-old archaic human (Homo sapiens) discovered in 2019.
|Location||Dongzhi County, Anhui, People's Republic of China|
Hualong Cave shows the lifestyle of humans in the Paleolithic Age. Bone tools were used for cutting animals but not for hunting. More than 100 stone tools have been discovered. These stone tools were made from siliceous rocks. Scrapers were the most abundant tools.
More than 40 species of mammalian fossils have been discovered from Hualong Cave. The majority of them are even-toed ungulates. Only few rodents can be identified. Important specimens include Ailuropoda, Arctonyx, Bubalus, Sinomegaceros, stegodon, giant tapir, and giant pandas. The occurrence of Sinomegaceros in the cave is remarked as the most southern in China.
Popularized as Dongzhi Man, a human fossil described in 2014 from Hualong Cave is considered as among the most well-preserved Homo erectus specimens. It was discovered discovered in 2006 along with stone artifacts and animal fossils during the first excavation. It consisted of two skull fragments and one separated (lower molar) teeth. The skull fragments were believed to be from the same individual. It is different from other fossils of the same species including Peking Man found in China. The teeth surfaces (enamel-dentine junctions) are much simpler and the cusps are sharper.
Archaic Homo sapiens
In 2019 a discovery of 16 human fossils was announced which were estimated to be about 300,000 (275,000–331,000) years old. The fossil assemblage included 8 cranial elements, seven isolated teeth, three femoral diaphyseal pieces, and major portions of an adolescent skull (designated HLD 6, HLD for Hualongdong). They were identified as archaic Homo sapiens. HLD 6 is remarkable as it was analyzed to be that of an adolescent person aged 13-15. It has large brain size of 1150 cc.
- Dong, Wei (2016). "Biochronological framework of Homo erectus horizons in China". Quaternary International. 400: 47–57. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2015.09.019.
- Xinhua (24 May 2019). "Chinese researchers discover 300,000-year-old ancient human fossils - Chinadaily.com.cn". www.chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
- Tong, HW; Wu, XJ; Dong, Z (2018). "Preliminary report on the mammalian fossils from the ancient human site of Hualong Cave in Dongzhi, Anhui". Acta Anthropologica Sinica. 37 (2): 284–305. doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2017.0070.
- "Well-Preserved Homo Erectus Skull Discovered in China". Archaeology. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
- "300,000-Year-Old Fossils Discovered in China". Archaeology. 24 May 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
- Anhui Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology and Research Center for Chinese Frontier Archaeology of Jilin University (2013). "The Hualong Cave upper Paleolithic site in Dongzhi County, Anhui". Chinese Archaeology. 13 (1): 55–60. doi:10.1515/char-2013-0007.
- Gong, XC; Zheng, LT; Xing, S; Tong, HW; Liu, W (2014). "Human fossils found from Hualong cave, Dongzhi county, Anhui Province" (PDF). Acta Anthropologica Sinica. 33 (4): 428–36.
- Xing, Song; Martinón-Torres, María; Bermúdez de Castro, José María (2018). "The fossil teeth of the Peking Man". Scientific Reports. 8 (1): 2066. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-20432-y. PMC 5794973. PMID 29391445.
- Wu, Xiu-Jie; Pei, Shu-Wen; Cai, Yan-Jun; Tong, Hao-Wen; Li, Qiang; Dong, Zhe; Sheng, Jin-Chao; Jin, Ze-Tian; et al. (2019). "Archaic human remains from Hualongdong, China, and Middle Pleistocene human continuity and variation". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 116 (20): 9820–9824. doi:10.1073/pnas.1902396116.