China's largest glacier mill, secret of skin color discovered

08:36, October 09, 2010      

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A glacier mill is discovered in Beijing. (photo by Kang Yanjun, Beijing Daily)

When the large amount of debris was cleared from a large pit found in a small town on the outskirts of Beijing, villagers found that the stone pit is as wide as 20 meters and as deep as 18 meters, and the entire pit is composed of hard granite. What is the true identity of this mysterious stone pit?

The discovery left geologists baffled at first. However, experts reached a startling conclusion as the site survey was launched. It turns out that the huge stone pit is a glacier mill, also known as a moulin, that date backs to a glacial period 2 million to 3 million years ago. It is the best preserved, largest and the most spectacular moulin among tens of thousands of moulins discovered in China.

An appraisal proved that it is also one of the largest moulins discovered worldwide. It can be rated as a masterpiece in the kingdom of moulins.

The moulin contains powerful information. It reveals the starting point of global climate evolution and shows the driving force of biological survival of the fittest and human evolution. It is not difficult to deduce that the earth began to get cold and was covered by glaciers during the glacial period 2 or 3 million years ago, judging from the formation of the moulin.

Han Tonglin, a researcher from the Institute of Geology under the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, said that the earth was like a big snowball, and the sudden cold forced humans to migrate to a suitable environment. Humans migrated to different regions in order to adapt to the environmental changes and skin color is an important feature.

"People's skin colors are their protective colors," Han said.

Han points out that some ancient humans migrated from the ice-covered mountains to the plains and started to live in the land of yellow soil at that time, and a "yellow soil development area" formed in East Asia, especially in northern China. In order to adapt to the hunting conditions in the yellow soil, they gradually developed the yellow protective colors.

In northern Europe, however, since the Mediterranean is to their south, the ancient people had no place to migrate and had to adapt to the extreme cold "white world" as much as they could, and therefore, the strong solar radiation reflected from the ice and snow developed their white skin and made them become the "original race of the Caucasians."

"Before the world became cold, all ancient humans probably had black skin color," Han said.

Han theorized that although the temperature had dropped sharply in Central Africa, the place still belonged to the "rain forest development area," and the dark environment of the dark rainforests maintained the original black skin color of the ancient people. From these things, we can see that the glacial moulin has quite a high scientific value for researching how the skin colors of humans developed.

Beijing Daily contributes to this report.

By People's Daily Online


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