Ancient History of Yunnan
In the Mesozoic Era, gigantic dinosaurs could be found strolling among the tropical and sub-tropical plants in marshlands and forests. One day in the Cretaceous Period, all of these herbivores disappeared mysteriously. Tens of thousands of years later, people found their fossils under the stratum of Lufeng County in central Yunnan. In Jinning, beside Dianchi Lake, there are also 200 dinosaurs footprints left in the Jurassic Period.
Yunnan is one of the birth places of mankind. Between 10 and 15 million years ago, a kind of apeman came down from the trees to the ground, leaving traces from Yuanmou in central Yunnan to Kaiyuan in southern Yunnan. Between 1956 to 1957, fossils of “Lama Ape Man” were discovered in the coal layers at Xiaolongtan, Kaiyuan. They are the earliest example of man in the Chinese geologic age.
Later, scientists found a fossil of “Yuanmou Xiaohe Ancient Ape”, which has more characteristics of modern man.In May 1965, paleoanthropologists discovered the fossil of “Yuanmou Ape Man”, the ancestor of the Chinese people, who lived more than 1.7 million years ago. During the long Paleolithic Age, Yunnan became more prosperous. Early Homo Sapiens lived in Zhaotong, and in later stages they lived in Lijiang, Kunming, Xichou, Pupiao and Yaoguan. With the coming of the Neolithic Age, many nationalities and tribes lived together on this vast land stretching from northeastern Yunnan to the Lancang River Valley, from the middle and upper reaches of the Jinsha River to the Erhai and Dianchi lakes.
They created diversified folk traditions and strong inter-relationships. Yunnan is also an important passage for migration between different tribes. People could move freely and seek their ideal place to live. They travelled far greater distances and shared cultural exchanges far more widely than we can imagine.
In this ancient corridor there lived many different peoples, including the Baipu, Baiyue, Miao, Yao, Di and Qiang ethnic tribes. They pushed forward human civilization along the ancient rivers.
Entering Yunnan, you will find the colorful plateau culture. Entering Yunnan, you will experience the rich ancient human civilization.