Home>News Center>China

Giant panda skeleton found in ancient tomb
Updated: 2005-02-24 03:36

The skeleton of a giant panda has been found in a 4,000-year-old tomb in central China, Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday, adding that the now-endangered animals were apparently being hunted at that time.

Wu Xianzhu, of the Hubei Provincial Archaeology Research Institute, said pigs and dogs had been used in burials as "funerary objects" since the early New Stone Age, dating back about 8,000 years.

Watching the flakes fall, Mei Xiang, one of two giant pandas at the US National Zoo takes time to enjoy the year's first snowfall in Washington, January 22, 2005. Giant pandas are native to central China where snow is common in the winter, making Mei Xiang and her mate Tian Tian feel right at home when the white stuff starts to fall. Giant pandas are endangered in the wild, with an estimated 1,600 left in the wild. [AP]

"Burying the giant pandas with the dead shows that ancient people had close contact with the creatures," he was quoted as saying.

The No. 77 tomb, in the Guanzhuangping Ruins of Zigui County, is the only tomb to have been found with panda remains.

"When the tomb was first excavated in 2001, the animal remains found were believed to be the bone of the lower jaw of a pig. But with further research, archaeologists decided that the bone belonged to a giant panda," Wu was quoted as saying.

Panda bones had been unearthed from other ruins from the same period, indicating that pandas were hunted by human beings at the time, it said.

Pandas have boosted their numbers in the wild by almost half to about 1,600 in just a few years thanks to enlarged habitat and improved ecosystems, Xinhua said last month.

  Today's Top News     Top China News

Official loses job in coal mine accident



Chirac calls on EU to lift arms embargo



Bidding starts on high-speed railway



Giant panda skeleton found in ancient tomb



New rules regulate petitioning



Nation seeks energy efficient buildings


  Lantern fest hails dumpling arrival
  Doctors save heart of baby in Shanghai
  Private cash to help build railway line
  Does SARS virus still exist in the wild?
  Goliaths compete for nuclear plant pact
  Low water level haunts Lijiang Rive
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
Giant panda bone found in 4,000-year-old tomb
Panda poo excites experts
China's endangered panda expands habitat
Pandas abroad take time to enjoy snowfall
Guangzhou Zoo's animal adoption program stagnant
Panda numbers up 40 per cent
Panda numbers up 40 per cent
  News Talk  
  It is time to prepare for Beijing - 2008