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635Mil BC
541Mil BC
The Ediacaran Period featured pre-Cambrian animals whose fossils were later found in Australia, Canada, the English Midlands and China. Creatures called rangeomorphs dated to this period.
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632Mil BC
Rocks form the Doushantuo formation of China dated to this time and showed signs of creatures more complex than tiny sponges.
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600Mil BC
580Mil BC
Fossils of primitive multi-celled embryos with no bones or shells, possibly dating to this time, were found in 1998 in a phosphate mine near the town of Weng ‘an in China’s Guizhou province. Scientists named the bilaterians Vernanimalcula guizhouena (small spring animal).
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580Mil BC
The Doushantuo, a geological formation in southern China, preserved many fossils from this time.
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530Mil BC
Chengjiang fauna from the Yunnan Province of China. Specimens include: the arthropod Jianfengia, Facivermis, Trilobites (arthropod to 27"), Eldonia (a possible echinoderm), Microdictyon, Dinomischus, Sponges, Hyolith (possible mollusk), Anomalocaris, Xianguangia, and early brachiopods.
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530Mil BC
Fishlike creatures, early agnathans, with marks of an early spine were found in 1998 in China’s Chengjiang fossil field.
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515Mil BC
A clawed critter later called Lyrarapax unguispinus lived on the seabed of what became southwest China. It belonged to an extinct early arthropod group called anomalocaridids.
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250Mil BC
South China at this time was a large island just north of the equator with a tropical climate. In 2010 a smattering of fossil land plants from a mountain in Luoping suggested that the local marine community lived near a conifer forest.
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240Mil BC
Fossils of Atopodentatus unicus, an aquatic reptile, roamed the seas about this time. It was identified in 2014 from fossils found in the Luoping formation of China’s Yunnan province.
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197Mil BC
190Mil BC
A bed of embryo lufengosaurus bones in southern China, reported in 2013, dated to this period.
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195Mil BC
A tiny animal the size of a paper clip from fossil beds in China’s Yunnan province dated to about this time. It was named Hadrocardium wui in 2001 and was considered as a possible ancestor to all living mammals.
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165Mil BC
125Mil BC
Fossils of fleas, from this period in China, were described in 2012 as being nearly an inch long and having a proboscis with serrated edges for biting and feeding.
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164Mil BC
In 2006 a fossil from this time found in Inner Mongolia in China was reported to have been a mammal with a flat, scaly tail like a beaver, vertebra like an otter and teeth like a seal that swam in lakes eating fish. The new animal, about the size of a small female platypus, is not related to modern beavers or otters but has features similar to them. The researchers named it Castorocauda lutrasimilis.
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160Mil BC
A crested dinosaur with probable feathers inhabited northwestern China about this time. A fossil of the 10-foot long relative of Tyrannosaurus rex, later named Guanlong wucaii, was found in 2004.

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160Mil BC
A flying reptile called Darwinopterus modularis, later discovered in China’s Liaoning province, dated to this time. It was believed to be an example of a flying reptile in transition from a more primitive long tailed form exemplified by Rhamphorhynchus and the tailless creatures typified by Pteranodan. In 2011 the specimen was identified as a female carrying an egg seemingly designed for burial.

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160Mil BC
The fossil of 10-foot dinosaur of this time was later discovered in northwestern China. In 2010 scientists said that the Haplocheirus sollers (simple, skillful hand) had short forearms, massive claws, 3 toes, a long beak, a keel-shaped chest and was a member of a family, the Alvarezsaurs, that evolved into birds.
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160Mil BC
A small feather dinosaur lived in China about this time. Its fossils were identified in 2015 named Yi qi, meaning strange wing. Scientists were unable to determine if the creature could fly or glide, do both or neither.
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140Mil BC
Fossils of feathered birds, later called Confuciusornis, were found in 2002 in Liaoning province, China. They had bird-like short tales. In 2009 Chinese paleontologists reported that a small dinosaur named Tianyulong Confuciusi, which lived during the Cretaceous period, was covered with feather-like structures -- long before anything like feathers had been believed to have started developing.
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130Mil BC
The fossil Sinovenator (Chinese hunter) dated to at least this time. A member of the troodontid dinosaurs, it was about the size of a chicken and represented a possible link to birds. It was discovered in Liaoning province in 2002.
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130Mil BC
A small Tyrannosaurus rex from this time, named Dilong paradoxus, was discovered in China in 2004 with evidence that its body was covered in downy “protofeathers.”
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128Mil BC
In 2003 scientists reported a 4-winged, theropod dinosaur that dated to this time from China’s Liaoning province. They named it Microraptor gui.
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128Mil BC
121Mil BC
Chinese paleontologists found the fossil of a bird-like beast with the impression of feathers. The feathered dinosaur, a therapod, was about 3-feet long in life. 2 turkey-sized, fossil dinosaurs with feathers were found in China in 1997 in Liaoning province. They were distinctly older than archaeopteryx. The birds were therapods and could not fly. They were named Protarchaeopteryx robusta and Caudipteryx zoui.
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125Mil BC
Eomaia scansoria, a tiny shrewlike creature, lived in China’s Liaoning province. It was the earliest known representative of the Eutheria lineage. It’s fossils led researchers in 2002 to believe that it might be the direct ancestor of true placental mammals.
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125Mil BC
In 2005 Farmers in Inner Mongolia found a fossil of a small mammal from about this time that displayed evidence of being able to glide. It was named Volaticotherium antiquius. Tests for age ranged as far back as 164Mil BC.
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125Mil BC
In 2009 paleontologists reported that a new dinosaur called Raptorex kriegsteini lived about this time. The nearly complete fossil had been found in northeastern China. It was about 9-feet long and weighed about 150 pounds and appeared to be a miniature prototype of T. Rex, which came some 35 million years later.
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125Mil BC
In 2010 British and Chinese scientists reported that Sinosauropteryx, a squirrel-sized dinosaur from this period, was covered in complex feathers colored in a subdued palette of chestnut and white stripes. It was first discovered in China in 1996 in fossil beds dated to 124.6-122 million years ago, during the late Barremian to early Aptian stages of the Early Cretaceous.
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125Mil BC
Zhenyuanlong suni, a close cousin of the dinosaur predator Velociraptor, lived about this time in China. In 2015 a nearly complete fossil was unearthed in Liaoning province, the first in its family to have unusually short feathered wings.
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124Mil BC
A meat-eating dinosaur called Sinornithosaurus, dated to this time, was found in Liaoning province, China, around 2002. The skin was covered with fibers but it had no wings.
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124Mil BC
110Mil BC
The fossil of a full-fledged bird named Jeholornis prima, found in 2002 in Liaoning province, China, was dated to this time.
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120Mil BC
Scientists reported in 2008 that a sparrow-sized pterodactyl, which they named Nemicolopterus crypticus, inhabited China’s Liaoning province about this time.
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120Mil BC
Microraptor was one of many small, feathered dinosaurs, lived in China about this time in time early Cretaceous.
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110Mil BC
The carnivorous dinosaur Microraptor zhaoianus lived in China about this time along with the fish-eating bird Yanornis martini. A forged fossil in 1999 linked the 2 as one feathered dinosaur.
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110Mil BC
In 2006 Chinese researchers reported nearly complete fossils of Gansus yumenensis, a grebe-like waterbird from this time, making it the oldest for the group Ornithurae.
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90Mil BC
In 2001 Paul Sereno, a paleontologist, helped lead an expedition to China that uncovered the fossilized remains of the 25 young sinornithomimus near Suhongtu, a tiny, remote village in the Gobi desert about 370 miles (600 kilometers) west of Hohhot.
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85Mil BC
In 2005 Chinese researchers discovered a bird-like dinosaur that lived about this time. The feathered but flightless Gigantoraptor erlianensis weighed about 1.4 tons and had a beak but no teeth.
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55Mil BC
A tiny monkey-like creature lived in central China about this time. Fossil evidence indicated that it’s trunk was about 2.8 inches long. In 2013 the new species was named Archibus achilles.
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50Mil BC
The Tibetan Plateau began to lift about this time as India thrust northward. This led to the creation of the Gobi Desert north of the plateau.
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42Mil BC
Paleontologist Daniel Gebo announced in 2000 the discovery of bones from 2 tiny primates, the size of a human thumb, that lived at this time in Shanghuang, China. The Eosimias primates also lived here about this time.
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40Mil BC
The entire Tibetan Plateau underwent major uplifting. Vast ranges rose from the Himalayas on the east to Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush and Iran’s Elburz mountains on the west.
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32Mil BC
16Mil BC
The South China Sea was created over this period as the sea floor spread due to tectonic plates moving apart.
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24Mil BC
A period of violent earthquakes shook the region that later became China’s Yunnan province and created the Ailao Shan range of Southwest China.
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23Mil BC
In China the Red and Yangzi rivers separated about this time. The Yangzi made a u-turn from flowing south and began flowing north-east. In 2013 sediment analysis confirmed this change.
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2Mil BC
In 2007 researchers reported that the first skull of the earliest known ancestor of the giant panda has been discovered in China and estimated to be at least 2 million years old. The animal, formally known as Ailuropoda microta, or "pygmy giant panda," would have been about 3 feet long, compared to the modern giant panda, which averages in excess of five feet.
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1.66Mil BC
Stone tools of this age were later found in northern China in the Nihewan Basin west of Beijing.
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1.2Mil BC
In 1993 a farmer in Sugeng, China, found a Pithecanthropus IX skull that dated to about this time.
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840000 BC
420000 BC
A large migration of people from Africa to Asia and Europe took place over this period. A 2nd migration period occurred from 150k-80k.
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670000 BC
400000 BC
Homo erectus occupied the Longushan cave. The Dragon Bone Hill site is 30 miles southwest of Beijing. The bones were found in the 1920s-1930s and were popularly referred to as Peking Man.
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600000 BC
300000 BC
Excavations begun in 1921 at Zhoukoudian, China, suggested evidence that Peking Man had mastered fire and practiced cannibalism over this period. In 1975 Jia Lampo authored “The Cave Home of Peking Man.”
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120000 BC
80000 BC
Researchers in 2015 reported that 47 fossilized human teeth found in China’s Hunan province dated back to this period. Earlier fossils from southern Asia were only about 45,000 years old.
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8000 BC
It is believed that the Chinese became to first to domesticate wild boars about this time.
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7000 BC
A flute dating to this time was found in the 1980s in Jiahu. 6 flutes from the hollow wing bones of cranes were found in Zheng-zhou province from about this time.
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7000 BC
Scientists in 2004 found the earliest evidence of winemaking from pottery shards dating from 7,000 BC in northern China.
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4300 BC
2500 BC
The Dawenkou culture. A 1999 show exhibited an urn from this period incised with a triple pictograph interpreted as sun-moon-mountain or sun-fire-mountain.
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4000 BC
People in China’s Yellow River Valley switched from hunting and gathering to agriculture about this time.

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4000 BC
The Chinese began working with silkworms about this time. They built their first silk machine about 2,000 BC.
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3500 BC
The Hongshan culture at Niuheliang created temples and mounds and face sculptures of gods in unbaked clay with jade eyes.
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3000 BC
1700 BC
In China’s Late Neolithic, Longshan period, a walled settlement existed at what was later called the Puchengdian Ruins of Henan province.
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3000 BC
In 2013 Chinese archaeologists said they have discovered some of the world's oldest known primitive writing, dating back to about this time, in eastern China. Some of the markings etched on broken axes resembled a modern Chinese character.
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2850 BC
China’s Emperor Fushi decreed that people would be identified with a formal family name as well as a familiar first name.
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2737 BC
Chinese emperor Shen Neng (Shennong) prescribed marijuana tea to treat gout, rheumatism, malaria and poor memory.
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