|The mandible of Lantian Man 蓝田人 (Lántián rén) found at Chenjiawo (陈家窝) (also spelt Chenchiawo) is dated by Etler (1969) as having lived over 660,000 years ago. The mandible was found first, in 1963, stimulating a larger archaeological project in the area. Woo Ju-Kang (1964) described the mandible as coming from a female with dental problems. Although there were no cavities, there was evidence of disease on the right side of the jaw, probably causing the loss of the first premolar. The rest of the teeth were intact, although a few were damaged during excavation.
The individual was quite old at the time of death, judging from the wear on the molars. Woo noted that no third molar was found and that there was no indication of a root internal to the jaw bone. So, no wisdom teeth would have developed.
The find was made by the team from the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology, Academia Sinica on July 19, 1963. There were a number of animal fossils found in the vicinity, including those of tigers, elephants, boars, sika deer and a red dog. Of greater interest, a quartz rock with signs of artificial chipping was found about 1,000 meters away from the Lantian jawbone. This links tools with both the Lantian skull and the Lantian jawbone.
Woo Ju-Kang. Mandible of Sinanthropus Lantianensis. Current Anthropology, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Apr., 1964), pp. 98-101.
Last update: March 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2010