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Wenzhong Pei(1904-1982)

Dr. Pei Wenzhong (Chinese: 裴文中, also as W. C. Pei, March 5, 1904 - September 18, 1982) was a Chinese paleontologist, archaeologist and anthropologist. Professor Pei is considered the founding father of Chinese anthropology.

He graduated from the Peking University in 1928 and went to work for the Cenozoic Research Laboratory of the Geological Survey of China joining the excavations of Peking Man Site in Zhoukoudian, where he was named the field director of the excavations in the following year. The work at Zhoukoudian was done in rough conditions: for example, the scientists had to ride to there on mules. The first skullcap was dug out by Pei "working in a 40-meter crevasse in frigid weather with a hammer in one hand and a candle in the other.", on December 1, 1929, at 4 pm.

From 1933 to 1934, he supervised the excavation of the Upper Cave site and was director of Zhoukoudian Office of the Cenozoic Research Laboratory of the Geological Survey of China. He left the excavation in 1935 to get a degree from the University of Paris and was succeeded by Professor Jia Lanpo. He returned to the excavation in 1937 shortly before they ceased.

Since Zhoukoudian, Professor Pei worked at many other sites, for example Djalainor or Kansu. In 1955 he was elected to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, became the first Chairman of Chinese Association of Natural Science Museums, and the second director of Beijing Museum of Natural History. Until his death, he worked at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He also wrote several books, including the first on Chinese prehistory written in Chinese.