南京猿人洞

Nanjing Ape Man Cave


Useful Information

Location:
(32.0581432, 119.0385336)
Open: All year daily 8-17.
[2023]
Fee: Adults CNY 27.
[2023]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System LightColoured Light
Dimension:
Guided tours:
Photography: allowed
Accessibility:
Bibliography:
Address: Nanjing Ape Man Cave, Tangquan West Road, Tangshan, Jiangning District, Nanjing, Jiangsu 211131, Tel: +86-25-8410-1828, Tel: +86-25-8411-1108.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

13-MAR-1993 a male and a female skull of Nanjing Man were discovered in Tangshan Cave near Nanjing.
1995 caves and adjacent areas developed and opened as a show cave.
2015 Nanjing Tangshan Geopark Museum opened to the public.

Description

南京猿人洞 (Nanjing Ape Man Cave) is a show cave with lots of speleothems. However, actually it is famous for the discovery of Nanjing Man (Homo erectus nankinensis) a subspecies of Homo erectus found in China, and dated to be between 300,000 and 620,000 years old. The Yangtze River valley was frequented long ago by our ancestors. Unfortunately, the site is marketed with pretty stupid names and statements. For example, the names Nanjing Ape Cave, Tangshan Caves of Ancient Ape, or Australopithecus Cave are weird nonsense. Homo erectus is a family of human ancestors, before the Homo sapiens, but it is not an ape. And while Australopithecus belongs to Homo erectus as well as Homo erectus nankinensis, they are obviously different, that's the reason why they have different names. Names in biologie were invented by Linne for exactly this purpose. And stating that this was "one of the birthplaces of the Chinese Civilization" is complete nonsense, as this civilization was created by modern humans. That's like saying that Neanderthals invented motorways. Or to make it short: all those names and stupid announcements were created by people who have no idea what they are talking about.

We are quite unhappy with this cave, as we actually have a lot of info on this cave, but it's all nonsense. They real facts we could actually verify are few.

Tangshan mountain is composed of limestone and karstified, and contains numerous large caves. Together they are called Tangshan Caves or Cave of Tangshan Hill. Two of the caves named 雷公洞 (Leigongdong, God of Thunder Cave) and Hulu Dong (Gourd Cave) are show caves and open to visitors. The latter, Gourd Cave, is the archaeological site where numerous fossils were discovered. Dozens of mammal species which lived during the Middle Pleistocene (150 Ma) were found. The discovery of a subspecies of Homo erectus in the cave in 1993 was a scientific sensation. However, China has several sites with Homo erectus remains. There is Yuanmou Man (Homo erectus yuanmouensis) near Danawu Village in Yuanmou County, Lantian Man (Homo erectus lantianensis) in Lantian county, Peking Man (Homo erectus pekinensis) at Zhoukoudian, and Homo erectus from Longtandong Cave, Wanjiashan mountain in Hexian. The remains are so old, only very few survived, and so the number os such remains is very limited.

The discovery was published in 1993, the two caves were developed as show caves in 1995. The archaeological excavation is preserved under the name Archeological Site of the Nanjing Man. There is a museum which is called the 汤山方山国家地质公园博物馆 (Tangshan Fangshan National Geopark Museum). It shows the palaeontological and archaeological findings of the site. And it shows reconstructions of the living condition of those people. The museum has a quite spectacular architecture with semicircular balconies and a sort of amphitheater.