It was, of course, the ‘dragons’ teeth’ found in Chinese drugstores that first alerted palaeontologists to the fact that somewhere in that fascinating country ancient hominids, now known as Homo erectus (a.k.a. Peking Man), were being found and the teeth sold to the thriving trade of medicine: ground-up dragons’ teeth were, after all, a sovereign remedy for all sorts of ills. Now the dragons are back, still as fossils but as an astonishing array of new discoveries that have been brought to the world’s attention in the pages of Nature during the last few years. And at this stage I...

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