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China's 'Peking Man' moving to a new home

CHINA is planning to build a new "Peking Man" museum near Beijing to replace the old one in the Zhoukoudian Caves to further protect the ancient relics, the museum director said.

Demolition work involving dozens of households and four enterprises and public institutions in the region has begun to make way for the new museum, the museum director Yang Haifeng said.

Zhoukoudian is a cave system in Beijing which yielded one of the first specimens of homo erectus, dubbed "Peking Man," who was previously believed to have lived about 400,000 to 500,000 years ago. But in March, Chinese scientists revealed they were actually 200,000 years older.

The new museum will be in a suburb of Beijing and be seven times the size of the old one, Yang said.

The current museum is in an area that could be endangered by heavy traffic.

"The current one was built in 1971 to meet the needs of visitors, but now it's not helpful for protection or exhibition," Yang said.

The new museum will have exhibition halls, a specimen storeroom, research center and popular science area, and be capable of exhibiting more archaeological discoveries to the public, Yang said.

The new museum is due to start construction in October and be completed by the end of next year, Yang said.

Last month, Chinese scientists began a rescue excavation in the Zhoukoudian Caves to prevent the western wall of the cave, where the first skulls were found, from collapsing.


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