Repost: The Skull-Crushing Hyenas of Dragon Bone Hill
The skull of a spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), photographed at the AMNH’s “Extreme Mammals” exhibit.
There was something strange about the assemblage of Homo erectus fossils found at Zhoukoudian – the famous 750,000 – 200,000 year old site in China popularly known as Dragon Bone Hill. Despite the abundance of skulls and teeth, there were hardly any remains of the hominins from below the neck. Where were the bodies?
The majority of Homo erectus fossils from Zhoukoudian were discovered and studied by an international team of scientists during the 1920’s and 1930’s. (Unfortunately most of the specimens were lost with the outbreak of WWII, but casts of these early discoveries remain.) They were just what paleoanthropologists had been hoping