The well-preserved skull was found in the central Chinese province of Henan, and Chinese scientists say it could disprove the widely-held theory that Homo sapiens originated in Africa.
The majority of Chinese scientists share the multiregional theory of human origin, which says that humans evolved separately in different regions.
The opposite theory, the Out-of-Africa model, says that Homo sapiens originated in Africa, and that some prehistoric humans left the continent about 60,000 years ago. This theory is supported by the small number of older human fossils found in other regions as compared to on the African continent.
The Chinese media has already dubbed the finding as "the greatest discovery in China after the discovery of the Peking Man and Upper Cave Man skulls in Beijing early last century."
However, paleontologists say that no conclusions can be drawn until the discovery has been carefully studied.
"More astonishing than the completeness of the skull is that it still has a fossilized membrane on the inner side allowing scientists to track the nerves of our Paleolithic ancestor," an archaeologist with the Henan cultural relics and archaeology research institute said.
The skull was well-preserved due to the nearby presence of hard water, containing high amounts of calcium ions.
Besides the skull, archaeologists also found about 30,000 animal fossils and stone and bone artifacts at the site.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Christophe de Margerie: 40 Years With French Oil and Gas Giant
Infographics: Nobel Peace Prize
The 11th Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club: The World Order: New Rules or No Rules?
The opening session entitled The Limits of Governability, or Systemic Failure provided the basis for subsequent discussions and highlighted the most painful issues in contemporary international relations.