In 2011 a tooth from the Peking Man was found in a box at the Museum of Evolution at Uppsala University. In the latest issue of Acta Anthropologica Sinica, researchers at SciLifeLab/Uppsala University and a Chinese research institute have now published their analysis of the tooth. The discovery gives us new knowledge about one of the most mythical ancestors of the modern man.
When 40 old, forgotten boxes were found and unpacked by Per Ahlberg, Martin Kundrát and curator Jan Ove Ebbestad in 2011, the tooth was one of the most interesting finds. Two Chinese paleontologists, Liu Wu and Tong Haowen from the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing, were invited to study the tooth. They could quickly determine that it was a canine tooth from a Peking Man.
‘It is a spectacular find’, says Per Ahlberg, faculty at SciLifeLab. ‘We can see numerous details that tell us about this individual’s life. The crown of the tooth is relatively small, which indicates that it belonged to a woman. The tooth is quite worn, so the individual must have been quite old when she died. In addition, two large chips have been knocked out of the enamel, as if hit by something, or perhaps by biting into something really hard such as a bone or a hard nut. At least one of the chips was old when the individual died, since it is partly worn down.