The Peking Man Skulls Searching Committee

2 minute read

AFP is reporting possible progress in the hunt for the missing Zhoukoudian bones (via Palanthsci):

Several interesting clues have come to light in recent months, according to members of a recently established committee charged with looking for the Peking Man's bones and other missing relics, the China Daily reported.
If the clues lead anywhere, it could potentially mark a breakthrough in a search that has lasted since the early 1940s.
Five skull fragments belonging to Peking Man were lost under mysterious circumstances during World War II and have never been recovered.
Just in the last two months, the committee has received 63 tip-offs on the whereabouts of the elusive relics, said Liu Yajun, deputy head of the commission.

People's Daily Online has a more detailed account:

The committee has received 63 pieces of information from areas like Beijing, Jilin Province, Fujian Province and Taiwan Province in the past two months. Experts with the committee screened the information and found four might be important:
A citizen surnamed Wu in Beijing claimed a professor surnamed Gu in Gansu Province once was invited to write autobiography for Jia Lanpo, one of the finders of the Peking Man skulls and also a guru on Peking Man studies. Gu once "recorded an American major's testimony at the Far East Military Court when researching at a Japanese archive, and the testimony mentioned the skulls."
A citizen surnamed Ren in Beijing claimed he knew one person whose father was a doctor in Peking Union Medical College Hospital, where the skulls were kept, and the doctor "took one skull home and the skull now is buried in a house."
A citizen surnamed Liu said he could help contact a wartime revolutionist who "has a Peking Man scull [sic] at hand."
A citizen surnamed Wu from Jiangxi Province said a 121-year-old man in Jiangxi once served as a high-ranking official under Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the forerunner of China's democratic revolution. The old man claimed that "the skulls are still in China" and he knows the whereabouts.

This quote seems like the significant one behind the committee's motivations:

"Mankind can give up many things, but there is one thing that we can never abandon -- that is our ancestors," said Gao Xing, an expert of ancient vertebrates, with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

I think it's pretty safe to say that the bones don't have any hidden power to open a fifth dimension or anything. Not exactly the stuff of a Lara Croft movie.

Then again...CourtTV of all places has a long account of the Zhoukoudian discoveries, including the loss of the fossils. That article, by Rachael Bell covers some of the theories (in the crackpot notions sense, not the well-supported scientific ideas sense).

Anyway, don't hold your breath.