NANNING, Apr 3 (Xinhua/APP): Snake bones that date back to the Neolithic period, around 6,000 years ago, have been discovered in the Zuojiang River basin, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The longest single vertebra unveiled at the site represents an individual snake belonging to the species Python bivittatus. The vertebra indicates the snake’s overall body length exceeded 4.58 meters, surpassing the previous record in China for this species of 3.56 meters.
The new discovery has also helped shed light on the history of hunting snakes in south China, which can be traced back to about 6,000 years ago.
Most of the unearthed snake bones had suspected burn marks on the surface, and the mammalian bones piled up alongside also showed signs of manual cutting or striking, said Yang Qingping with the Guangxi Institute of Cultural Relic Protection and Archaeology.
It has not been ruled out that prehistoric human beings in the area roasted food to process the meat, Yang added.
The research was jointly carried out by the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Guangxi Institute of Cultural Relic Protection and Archaeology. The relevant results have been published online in the international journal Historical Biology.
The Zuojiang River basin boasts rich animal and plant resources with complex and diverse landforms and multiple prehistoric cultural heritages. A group of rock paintings dating back over 2,000 years in the basin was included in UNESCO’s world heritage list in 2016.