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Panda bone found in ancient tomb as sacrifice
Updated: 2005-02-24 09:21

A bone from a giant panda had been found in a 4,000-year-old tomb in Central China's Hubei Province, an archaeologist said.

A panda ambles in a zoo in Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province in this December 22, 2004 file photo. [newsphoto]
The discovery proved that bones of giant pandas were used as funerary objects in ancient China, said Wu Xianzhu, with the Hubei Provincial Archaeology Research Institute.

The No.77 tomb, in the Guanzhuangping Ruins in Zigui County, is the only tomb with panda funerary objects ever discovered in the world.

When the tomb was excavated in 2001, the animal remains were believed to be the lower jawbone of a pig.

But with further research, archaeologists realized the bone belonged to a giant panda, Wu said.

Domestic animals such as pigs and dogs had been used as funerary objects since the early Neolithic Age, dating back approximately 8,000 years, said Wu.

Burying giant panda bones with the dead showed that ancient people had close contact with the creature, Wu said.

Panda bones had been unearthed in other neolithic ruins in the province, indicating that pandas were among the animals hunted by humans at that time.

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