The gold masks found in Sanxingdui are believed to be about 3,000 years old.

The past 12 months have been a banner year in Chinese archaeology and palaeontology. From finding a potential ancient human relative to an “alien civilisation”, some of the most exciting scientific breakthroughs in 2021 involved China.

They helped us learn more about our world long before humans roamed the Earth and told us fascinating stories about where we came from. Here are eight of the most interesting Chinese archaeology and palaeontology finds for 2021.

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