New Insights Into PaleoChina
by Henrietta Wang
The world of anthropology was recently thrown into a state of mindless confusion, much like that of a zero-gravity preschool for troublesome children, when new evidence came to light that supporters thereof claim throws everything we know about the nature of mankind into a state of chaos, much like that of a dog pound on a roller coaster.
I was lucky enough to attend a press conference at the Capital Central Anthropology and Digging Outdoors University in Beijing's decrepit distant suburb, Haidian, two weeks ago and was as equally astounded as the other members of the audience upon hearing the keynote speech, delivered via a VHS link from an area of countryside just outside of Shanghai.
Students digging on an archaeological dig heard a rumour that a nearby farmer had discovered something important in a ditch near his wife's shed, and when they arrived they found that was exactly what had happened: a body, believed to be from the exact same year as Beijing Man was believed to have been from, was lying in a shallow grave surrounded by some of its material possessions. The students soon began calling the discovery "Shanghai Man". At the same time, a hitherto unexamined bundle of Beijing Man's possessions, which had been stored in hay since 1936, helped to build a picture out of the two metaphorical jigsaw pieces.
Could prehistoric Shanghai inhabitants really have dreamed of this place being flattened by a big space rock?
"The evidence clearly indicates that all was not well in the strained relationship between Beijing Man and Shanghai Man," proclaimed student Hua Zhule (from Shanghai). "Amongst Shanghai man's possessions are some bone carvings that seem to have been made by Beijing Man and cruelly sent down to his southern neighbour". "It seems," warbled Lan Dede (archaeologist, Beijing), "that Beijing man had a profound dislike of Shanghai man, thinking of him as arrogant, obsessed with foreign culture, and emotionally shallow. The crudely carved bones show Beijing man working hard in the fields whilst Shanghai Man sits nearby with taller people done in a different colour, all of whom have large items that appear to be luggage and numerous hats, watching on and enjoying a dark brown drink in very small crude cups."
"This is a very important discovery," continued Miss Peng from Beijing. "In a series of carvings done by Shanghai Man, we can see through his crude pictorials several images of Beijing Man being killed in various ways, including an intricate three-sided sabre-toothed tiger ambush, a separate incident with a mammoth and what looks like an asteroid hit on Beijing Man's unattractive home. It is not certain what these carvings were done for, but I would speculate that these were Shanghai man's way of making himself feel better."
When asked if any of these pictographs could explain what wiped out Beijing man, Miss Peng replied "No."