Chapter

“From ‘Dragon Bones’ to Scientific Research”: Peking Man and Popular Paleoanthropology in Pre-1949 China

Sigrid Schmalzer

in The People's Peking Man

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780226738598
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226738611 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226738611.003.0002
“From ‘Dragon Bones’ to Scientific Research”: Peking Man and Popular Paleoanthropology in Pre-1949 China

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This chapter, which discusses Chinese attitudes about culture and science, suggests that while the discovery of Peking Man originated in local knowledge of dragon bones, scientific research never replaced this other form of knowledge. Rather, rural people even today continue to collect dragon bones for use as medicine, and scientists continue to seek out these dragon bone hunters to further their own research. Both as boon and as bane, the dragon bone trade has remained a part of scientific research on evolution in China. The goal of eliminating superstition and bringing the masses into a scientific worldview remained prominent among intellectuals and state agents in the socialist and postsocialist eras.

Keywords: scientific research; culture; science; local knowledge; superstition; evolution

Chapter.  17329 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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