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A recipe favored by Peking Ducks or....

Anybody up for a little archeological mystery?

The year is 1899 and an archeologist by the name of K.A Haberer was doing a little digging in and around the area of the Peking mountains in China. It was there that he discovered a tooth that he thought was unmistakably of human origin. Unfortunately for him, he never published his findings and it wasn’t until about 20 years later that the real excitement began.

By then, another scientist by the name of David Black was doing a little more digging in and around a place called Zhoukoudian Cave around Beijing. He found a couple of more teeth that also appeared to have human origins. At first, they were estimated to be at least 130,000 years old but after some early carbon dating experiments had been performed, the estimates were increased to about 500,000 years old. It set the scientific world on its ear.

By the time 1933 had rolled around, digging was extensive and another 40 individual skeletons were discovered. Unfortunately, none of them were intact and all were missing some bones.

In 1941, a decision was made to put the skeletons on display at the Peking Museum. Due to the tensions between Japan and China during World War II, particularly that Japan would attack China and the skeletons would be destroyed or seized by Japanese forces, a decision was made to ship the bones to the United States. They were packed up and made ready for shipment to Pearl Harbor.

They never made it.

Although details are sketchy, here’s what is thought to have happened. The bones were packed into two custom-built steamer trunks and placed in the luggage of one Lt. William T. Foley, a Navy medical officer who was returning to the United States via the Philippines. His baggage had been sent by rail to a small Marine camp on the coast. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, they wound up imprisoning the Marines at the camp and for good measure, ransacked it. Included in the ransacking were the baggage containing the bones. Speculation has it the bones were trampled by the Japanese who were unaware of their importance to the scientific community.

Despite efforts from the scientific community and private investigators, the whereabouts of the bones or their fate, remain a mystery.

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