By LAO SHOUXING
HENAN (China Daily Show) — Archaeologists excavating a site near the Shang Dynasty (1766-1050 BC) capital of Yinxu made a startling discovery this week, when fossilized remains of a trio of Chinese citizens, apparently in the form of a line, were sensationally uncovered.
Dr. Charles Whitmore, visiting paleontologist with the Chinese Academy of 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 by the Chinese is only observed in excruciating military processions and firing squads.”
Millennia 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 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 of Sinology to rethink scores of cherished theories, including the controversial suggestion by Whitmore that large swathes of early Chinese may have enjoyed lunch at “any random interval of time between, say, eleven and three?”
One Harvard history professor has claimed for years to have written evidence of a Ming Dynasty dinner party that “didn’t end awkwardly and abruptly just before ten.”
There is little consensus, however, among Chinese academics, who 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 they 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, urges Westerners to “stand still” and “remain calm” in the face of “sudden excitement.”
“I cannot believe that any reasonable, sane Chinese person would choose to purposefully increase the time he or she spends waiting out of deference to someone else,” said Shi-mian. “I just can’t stand behind that line of logic.”
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