Journal of the History of Biology

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 585–625 | Cite as

Evolutionary Asiacentrism, Peking Man, and the Origins of␣Sinocentric Ethno-Nationalism

  • Hsiao-pei Yen


This paper discusses how the theory of evolutionary Asiacentrism and the Peking Man findings at the Zhoukoudian site stimulated Chinese intellectuals to construct Sinocentric ethno-nationalism during the period from the late 1920s to the early 1940s. It shows that the theory was first popularized by foreign scientists in Beijing, and the Peking man discoveries further provided strong evidence for the idea that Central Asia, or to be more specific, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Mongolia, was the original cradle of humans. Chinese scholars in the late 1930s and 1940s appropriated the findings to construct the monogenesis theory of the Chinese, which designated that all the diverse ethnic groups within the territory of China shared a common ancestor back to antiquity.


Peking Man Evolutionary Asiacentrism Johan Gunnar Andersson Davidson Black Henry Fairfield Osborn Amadeus Grabau Chinese Central Asia Sinanthropus Paleontological nationalism 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Modern History, Academia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan, ROC

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