Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (03): 469-489.doi: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2021.0026

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Chronological significance of the mammalian fauna from the Early Pleistocene Shanshenmiaozui site in Nihewan Basin, northern China

TONG Haowen1,2,3(), ZHANG Bei1,2,3, CHEN Xi4, WANG Xiaomin5, SUN Jijia1,2,3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044
    2. CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing 100044
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044
    4. Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023
    5. Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing 100710
  • Received:2020-10-27 Revised:2020-12-22 Online:2021-06-15 Published:2021-06-24


The fossils of the Nihewan (Nihowan) Fauna (senso stricto) or the Classic Nihewan Fauna derived from diversified sites around the Xiashagou Village located at the northern bank of the Sangganhe (Sangkanho) River. The Nihewan Fauna has been regarded as the type fauna of the Early Pleistocene epoch in northern China, whereas its approximate numerical age has been unresolved for quite a long time; the updated paleomagnetic age is 2.2-1.7 MaBP. Because of the cuts by river and tectonic faults, the stratigraphical correlations among different areas inside the Nihewan Basin remained difficult in the past, which can be definitely attributed to the insufficient fossil discoveries on the southern bank of the river. It’s lucky enough that during the past decade, a new site named Shanshenmiaozui (SSMZ) was recovered and excavated at the edge of the Cenjiawan Platform at the southern bank of the Sangganhe River; totally 9 excavations were conducted at the site, which resulted in the finding of 1526 pieces of mammalian fossils belonging to 25 species (including undetermined species) and 23 of which are the common members of the Nihewan Fauna. Therefore, the Shanshenmiaozui Fauna should share the same age with the Nihewan Fauna, i.e. earlier than 1.7 MaBP. The fossiliferous layer of SSMZ site is slightly higher than the cultural layer at the neighboring Xiaochangliang (XCL) Site, and the result of stratigraphical correlation shows that the Xiaochangliang Site should be older than 1.36 MaBP as currently thought; furthermore, the ages of other sites in the adjacent area also should be reconsidered. In the area around Xiaochangliang site, basal gravels are frequently appearing, but their vertical positions in the strata and the degrees of sorting and rounding are variable; the present authors think the basal gravels are important evidences for site correlations and crucial for paleoenvironmental reconstruction.

Key words: Shanshenmiaozui at Nihewan, conclusion of excavations, mammalian fossils, Early Pleistocene

CLC Number: