By LAO SHOUXING
HENAN (China Daily Show) – Archaeologists excavating a site near the Shang Dynasty capital of Yinxu made a startling discovery this week:The fossilized remains of a trio of Chinese citizens, apparently in the form of a line.
Dr. Charles Whitmore, visiting paleontologist with the Chinese Academy of Socialist Sciences, says the discovery represents “a paradigm shift in our understanding of the Chinese people.”
The scientific community has long believed Chinese people to be “genetically unwilling to file singly,” Whitmore explained. “But this discovery suggests we may have been wrong, and that they may have once been willing to form a line quite patiently.
“To think that, perhaps as recently as 3,000 years ago, the average Chinese might have possessed the faculties to align his – or herself – directly behind another flies in the face of everything we’ve assumed,” Whitmore continued. “Today, such linear audacity is only observed in the Chinese during military processions and firing squads.”
Centuries of sociological research has reinforced the original conclusion, most recently in the notorious 1994 Tsinghua University “Bus Stop” experiment, where students were asked to remain in single-file as a bus, driven by researchers, pulled up. The researchers then watched as the 12 students pushed, jostled and trampled each other on to the vehicle, even though it was empty and had ample seating.
The sensational new discovery is being hailed by Western scientists as an anthropological milestone tantamount to the Java Man and the Chauvet cave paintings, and could cause researchers in other areas to rethink scores of cherished theories, including the controversial suggestion that large swathes of early Chinese may have enjoyed a freewheeling lunch schedule at any time between eleven and two.
One Harvard history professor claims to have evidence of Ming dynasty dinner parties that “didn’t end awkwardly and abruptly just before ten.”
There is little consensus, however, among Chinese academics and many remain skeptical about the findings.
“I don’t think we can rush to conclusions here,” Beijing Normal University professor Shi-mian Maifu told China Daily Show. “There may be some other explanation. Maybe these ancestors were performing a dance, or playing some sort of practical joke. We just don’t know.”
Shi-mian, a noted scholar of Chinese ethics and author of seven university textbooks, urged Western observers to instead “stand still” and “remain calm” in the face of “sudden excitement.”
“I cannot believe that any sane Chinese person would choose to purposefully increase the time he or she spends waiting, simply out of deference to someone else,” said Shi-mian. “I just can’t stand behind that line of logic.”