Archaeologists discover skeletons of 5,000-year-old Chinese 'giants'

Woman holding skull.
(Image credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

The skeletons of "giants" have been discovered in Neolithic Chinese graves, leading archaeologists to wonder about the ancient people who inhabited the region near Jinan City in Shandong province some 5,000 years ago.

Archaeologists excavating the site discovered bones indicating many people in the ancient population stood over 5 feet 9 inches tall, with one man estimated to be over 6 feet 2 inches tall. "Although not particularly unusual by 21st-century Western standards, it is thought their height would have seen them tower over many of their contemporaries," The Independent writes.

By comparison, the modern day average height of men over 18 in Shandong is 5 feet 7 inches, while the average for all of China is 5 feet 6 inches. Confucius, a native of Shandong who lived between 551 and 479 BC, was believed to stand 6 feet 2 inches tall.

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Researchers noticed that at the Shandong excavation site, taller men had larger graves, drawing a link between wealth and access to better food. "Already agricultural at that time, people had diverse and rich food resources and thus their physique changed," the head of Shandong University's school of history and culture, Fang Hui, told China Daily.

The archaeologists discovered 205 graves in addition to 104 houses and 20 sacrificial pits.

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