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  • Brian Lander (a1) and Katherine Brunson (a2)


Human activity has eliminated many of the natural lowland ecosystems of the Middle and Lower Yellow River Valley, and has modified the rest, making it difficult to understand what species are native to the region. As a step towards the reconstruction of these lost environments, this paper employs zooarchaeological and other evidence to identify the native mammals of the region. We provide basic ecological information about these animals and discuss controversial or difficult cases in more depth. Our goal is not only to study China's environmental history, but also to make clear that conventional understandings of species ranges are based on the distributions of animals in the modern period, when many had already been eliminated from large areas by human activity.



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The authors are grateful for postdoctoral fellowships from the Harvard University Center for the Environment, the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, and the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University. We would like to thank Rowan Flad, John Major, Max Price, Andrew Smith and two anonymous reviewers for their comments.



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1 Elvin, Mark, The Retreat of the Elephants: An Environmental History of China (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), 918; Marks, Robert B., China: An Environmental History, 2nd ed. (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).

2 Our study region consists of Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, Shandong, and Hebei provinces, plus the Wei River basin in Gansu, and Beijing. While southern Shaanxi and Henan are not in the Yellow River Basin, the few sites from these regions did not include any species that were not common in sites further north, except for the giant panda and elephant remains at Xiawanggang, discussed below.

3 On how people in early China thought about animals, and their relationship with them, see Sterckx, Roel, The Animal and the Daemon in Early China (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002); Guo Fu 郭郛, Li Yuese 李約瑟 (Joseph Needham), and Qingtai, Cheng 成慶泰, Zhongguo gudai dongwuxue shi 中國古代動物學史 (Beijing: Kexue, 1999); Major, John S., “Animals and Animal Metaphors in the Huainanzi,” Asia Major 21.1 (2008): 133–51; Sterckx, Roel, “Attitudes towards Wildlife and the Hunt in Pre-Buddhist China,” in Wildlife in Asia: Cultural Perspectives, ed. Knight, John (London: Routledge Curzon, 2004), 1535.

4 For a global archaeological synthesis of these issues, see Boivin, Nicole L. et al. , “Ecological Consequences of Human Niche Construction: Examining Long-Term Anthropogenic Shaping of Global Species Distributions,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113.23 (2016): 6388–96.

5 E.g., Chang, Kwang-chih, The Archaeology of Ancient China, 4th ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986), 79.

6 The Holocene megathermal, the warmest period of the past 10,000 years (c. 9000–4000 years ago), was about 1.5 degrees warmer, and precipitation was about 200 mm higher than at present in North China. Vegetation zones shifted northwards by around 200–300 km, so that Xi'an's climate was similar to that of modern Nanyang, Henan. Cold-intolerant plants and animals would have moved slightly northwards, including forests moving into areas that had been too arid. But the change was far too small to have any great effect on which mammals inhabited the Yellow River Valley. Lu, Hou-Yuan et al. , “Phytoliths as Quantitative Indicators for the Reconstruction of Past Environmental Conditions in China II: Palaeoenvironmental Reconstruction in the Loess Plateau,” Quaternary Science Reviews 26.5–6 (2007): 759–72; Cai, Yanjun et al. , “The Variation of Summer Monsoon Precipitation in Central China since the Last Deglaciation,” Earth and Planetary Science Letters 291.1–4 (2010): 2131; Zou, Songbing et al. , “Holocene Natural Rhythms of Vegetation and Present Potential Ecology in the Western Chinese Loess Plateau,” Quaternary International 194.1–2 (2009): 5567.

7 The idea of a “native species” shares the same etymological and intellectual roots as the idea of “natural,” which has a long and complex history: Williams, Raymond, “Ideas of Nature,” in Culture and Materialism (London: Verso, 2005), 6785. Here we use “nature” and “wild” to refer to species and environments not created by or dependent on humans.

8 Crees, Jennifer J. and Turvey, Samuel T., “What Constitutes a ‘Native’ Species? Insights from the Quaternary Faunal Record,” Biological Conservation 186 (2015): 143–48; Turvey, Samuel T., ed., Holocene Extinctions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

9 The only Old World civilizations whose long-lost ecosystems have been studied in any depth are those of Europe and the Mediterranean, e.g. Kitchell, Kenneth F., Animals in the Ancient World from A to Z (New York: Routledge, 2014); Grove, A.T. and Rackham, Oliver, The Nature of Mediterranean Europe: An Ecological History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001); Jashemski, Wilhelmina and Meyer, Frederick, The Natural History of Pompeii (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Bartosiewicz, László, “A Lion's Share of Attention: Archaeozoology and the Historical Record,” Acta Archaeologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 60.1 (2009), 275–89; Tsahar, Ella et al. , “Distribution and Extinction of Ungulates during the Holocene of the Southern Levant,” PLOS ONE 4.4 (2009), e5316.

10 Sterckx, The Animal and the Daemon in Early China, esp. 15–44.

11 如小狗也. 水居;食魚. Wang, Ping and Zang, Kehe, Shuowen jiezi xinding 說文解字新丁 (Beijing: Zhonghua, 2002). For other otter references, see Major, John S. et al. , trans., The Huainanzi: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Government in Early Han China (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), 182.

12 Major, “Animals and Animal Metaphors in the Huainanzi,” 146.

13 Lyman, R. Lee, Vertebrate Taphonomy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Reed, Charles, “Osteo-Archaeology,” in Science in Archaeology, by Eric Higgs and Don Brothwell (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1963), 2014–16.

14 The use, and size, of screen mesh has a significant effect on the types of animal remains uncovered during excavations: Quitmyer, Irvy, “What Kind of Data Are in the Back Dirt? An Experiment on the Influence of Screen Size on Optimal Data Recovery,” Archaeofauna 13 (2004), 109–29; Schaffer, Brian and Sanchez, Julia, “Comparison of ⅛″-and ¼″-Mesh Recovery of Controlled Samples of Small-to-Medium-Sized Mammals,” American Antiquity 59 (1994): 525–30.

15 Grayson, Donald K., “The Effects of Sample Size on Some Derived Measures of Vertebrate Faunal Analysis,” Journal of Archaeological Science 8 (1981): 7788; Lyman, R. Lee, Quantitative Paleozoology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 196.

16 For data, see online appendices.

17 Smith, Andrew T. and Xie, Yan, eds., A Guide to the Mammals of China (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008).

18 Another useful work has been Hutchins, Michael et al. , eds., Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, 2nd ed. (Farmington Hills: Gale Group, 2003).

19 This section on deer is primarily based on Geist, Valerius, Deer of the World: Their Evolution, Behaviour, and Ecology (Mechanicsburg: Stackpole, 1998); Hutchins, Michael et al. , eds., Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia Vol. 15: Mammals IV, 2nd ed. (Farmington Hills: Gale Group, 2003), 335–98.

20 E.g., Riley, John L., The Once and Future Great Lakes Country: An Ecological History (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2013), 1419.

21 The forest musk deer (Moschus berezovskii) now lives only in high mountains and Siberian musk deer (M. moschiferus) is found only in the far north of the region. The remains found in the lowlands may belong to either of these, or perhaps to an extinct lowland species.

22 The earliest record we can find of people valuing the musk comes from the “Discourse on Nourishing the Body” (Yang shen lun 養身論) of Ji Kang 嵇康 (223–62 CE):養生論_(嵇康).

23 The head and pedicles (rounded furry horns from which small antlers grow on males) on some bronze vessels seem to depict a muntjac, while the rest of the animal contains fantastical elements, like wings. E.g., Zhongguo shehuikexueyuan kaogu yanjiusuo, Zhangjiapo Xi Zhou mudi 張家坡西周墓地 (Beijing: Dabaike quanshu, 1999), 161–63; 高功, Gao Gong, “Long xing cheng cang, lu ming zhou ye—Shigushan Xi Zhou mudi chutu qingtongqi shangxi (er) 龍行陳倉,鹿鳴周野—石鼓山西周墓地出土青銅器賞析(二),” Shoucangjie 4 (2015).

24 Geist, Deer of the World, 84–85.

25 Kroll, Paul W., A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese (Leiden: Brill, 2015; Pleco edition). The same is true of Japanese, in which this character is pronounced “sika,” hence the English name.

26 Geist, Deer of the World, 90–94.

27 Hutchins et al., Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia Vol. 15; Mammals 4, 367.

28 Schafer, Edward H., “Cultural History of the Elaphure,” Sinologia 4 (1956): 250–74.

29 Geist, Deer of the World, 102.

30 Smith and Xie, Guide to the Mammals of China, 467; Ohtaishi, Noriyuki and Gao, Yaoting, “A Review of the Distribution of All Species of Deer (Tragulidae, Moschidae and Cervidae) in China,” Mammalian Review 20.2/3 (1990): 125–44.

31 112 of 121 sites, about 93%.

32 For a detailed discussion of pig ecology and the nature of pig domestication, see Albarella, Umberto et al. , eds, Pigs and Humans: 10,000 Years of Interaction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).

33 Yunbing, Luo 羅運兵, Zhongguo gudai zhu lei xunhua, siyang yu yishixing shiyong 中國古代豬類馴化飼養與儀式性使用 (Beijing: Kexue chubanshe, 2012).

34 Photographs taken in the early twentieth century reveal that some domesticated pigs still looked quite wild: Sterling Clark, Robert and de Carle Sowerby, Arthur, Shen-Kan: The Account of the Clark Expedition in North China 1908–9 (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1912), 137.

35 Yuan, Jing and Flad, Rowan K., “Pig Domestication in Ancient China,” Antiquity 76.293 (2002): 724–32; Cucchi, Thomas et al. , “Early Neolithic Pig Domestication at Jiahu, Henan Province, China: Clues from Molar Shape Analyses Using Geometric Morphometric Approaches,” Journal of Archaeological Science 38.1 (2011): 11–22; Wang, Hua et al. , “Morphometric Analysis of Sus Remains from Neolithic Sites in the Wei River Valley, China, with Implications for Domestication,” International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 25.6 (2015): 877–89.

36 Barton, Loukas et al. , “Agricultural Origins and the Isotopic Identity of Domestication in Northern China,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106.14 (2009): 5523–28.

37 Wang, Hua et al. , “Pig Domestication and Husbandry Practices in the Middle Neolithic of the Wei River Valley, Northwest China: Evidence from Linear Enamel Hypoplasia,” Journal of Archaeological Science 39.12 (2012): 3662–70; Pike-Tay, Anne et al. , “Combining Odontochronology, Tooth Wear Assessment, and Linear Enamel Hypoplasia (LEH) Recording to Assess Pig Domestication in Neolithic Henan, China,” International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 26.1 (2014), 6877.

38 Yuan and Flad, “Pig Domestication in Ancient China”; Yuan, Jing, “The Origins and Development of Animal Domestication in China,” Journal of Chinese Archaeology 8 (2008): 17; Luo, Zhongguo gudai zhu lei xunhua.

39 Incidentally, another perissodactyl that may have inhabited the region is the tapir, which was found at Anyang, and seems also to be represented in ancient bronzes. However, Donald Harper argues that the tapir bones excavated at Anyang date to the Pleistocene, that the bronze vessels do not depict tapirs, and that there were no tapirs in China in historical times. de Chardin, Pierre Teilhard and Young, Chung Chien, On the Mammalian Remains from the Archaeological Site of Anyang (Nanking: Geological Survey of China, 1936); Harper, Donald J., “The Cultural History of the Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) in Early China,” Early China 35 (2013): 186204.

40 Linduff, Katheryn M., “A Walk on the Wild Side: Late Shang Appropriation of Horses in China,” in Prehistoric Steppe Adaptation and the Horse, ed. Levine, Martha, Renfrew, Colin, and Boyle, Katie (Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2003), 139–62; Flad, Rowan, Yuan, Jing, and Li, Shuicheng, “Zooarcheological Evidence for Animal Domestication in Northwest China,” in Late Quaternary Climate Change and Human Adaptation in Arid China, ed. Madsen, David, Chen, Fa-Hu, and Gao, Xing (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2007), 194.

41 Huanran, Wen 文煥然, ed., Zhongguo lishi shiqi zhiwu yu dongwu bianqian yanjiu 中國歷史時期植物與動物變遷研究 (Chongqing: Chongqing chubanshe, 1995), 234–47.

42 van Vuure, Cis, Retracing the Aurochs: History, Morphology and Ecology of an Extinct Wild Ox (Sofia: Pensoft, 2005), 213–59.

43 Peng, Lu, Brunson, Katherine, Jing, Yuan and Zhipeng, Li, “Zooarchaeological and Genetic Evidence for the Origins of Domestic Cattle in Ancient China,” Asian Perspectives 56.1 (2017): 92120.

44 Aurochs bones have been identified at the Longshan site of Zhoujiazhuang in Shanxi Province dating to 2140–1745 cal BCE. Since the mtDNA haplogroups of both domestic cattle and wild aurochs were identified at that site, we know that both animals lived in the area at the time, and may have interbred: Brunson, Katherine et al. , “New Insights into the Origins of Oracle Bone Divination: Ancient DNA from Late Neolithic Chinese Bovines,” Journal of Archaeological Science 74 (2016): 3544.

45 Recent zooarchaeological studies on water buffalo (Bubalus sp.) remains from China and South Asia have disproven the traditional view that water buffalo were first domesticated in Neolithic China. The results from several recent genetic studies of modern domesticated buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) are not consistent with each other, placing the original center of buffalo's domestication in South Asia, Southeast Asia, or China. Dongya Yang and colleagues analyzed DNA from water buffalo remains dated to 8000–3600 cal BP from Neolithic sites in North China. The phylogenetic analysis indicated that the ancient water buffalos were an extinct species, not the direct ancestor of modern domesticated water buffalo. Liu Li 劉莉, Dongya, Yang 楊東亞, and Xingcan, Chen 陳星燦, “Zhongguo jiayang shuiniu qiyuan chutan” 中國家養水牛起源初探, Kaogu xuebao 2 (2006), 141–76; Yang, Dongya et al. , “Wild or Domesticated: DNA Analysis of Ancient Water Buffalo Remains from North China,” Journal of Archaeological Science 35:10 (2008): 2778–85.

46 Nowak, Ronald M., Walker's Mammals of the World (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999).

47 Liu, Li and Chen, Xingcan, The Archaeology of China: From the Late Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 108–11; Hutchins, Michael et al. , eds., Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia Vol. 16: Mammals V, 2nd ed. (Farmington Hills: Gale Group, 2003), 2021.

48 E.g., Fong, Wen, ed., The Great Bronze Age of China (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1980), 230.

49 悉率左右,以燕天子.既張我弓, 既挾我矢, 發彼小豝, 殪此大兕. “Ji ri” 吉日, Mao ode # 180. We have changed Karlgren's translation of si 兕 from “rhinoceros” to “buffalo” in accordance with Lefeuvre, Jean A., “Rhinoceros and Wild Buffaloes North of the Yellow River at the End of the Shang Dynasty: Some Remarks on the Graph and the Character 兕,” Monumenta Serica 39 (1990): 131–57; Bishop, Carl W., “Rhinoceros and Wild Ox in Ancient China,” The China Journal 18.6 (1933): 322–30; Karlgren, Bernhard, The Book of Odes (Stockholm: Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 1950), 124.

50 如野牛而青. Hanyu da zidian 漢語大字典 (Wuhan: Hubei ci shu; Sichuan ci shu, 1986), 270.

51 Two other species of gazelle inhabit similar ecologies, and may have lived in the Guanzhong basin: Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa, 25–45 kg) and Przewalski's gazelle (Procapra przewalskii, 17–32 kg).

52 Hutchins et al., Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia Vol. 15, 249–57.

53 Orlando, Ludovic et al. , “Ancient DNA Analysis Reveals Woolly Rhino Evolutionary Relationships,” Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 28.3 (2003): 485–99; Hutchins et al., Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia Vol. 16, 249.

54 Bones identified as rhinoceros or Sumatran rhinoceros were identified at Early and Middle Neolithic Dadiwan (Gansu), Middle Neolithic Guantaoyuan and Zijing (Shaanxi), Middle Neolithic Xiawanggang (Henan), Bronze Age Erlitou (Henan), and Bronze Age Anyang (Henan).

55 E.g., Bojun, Yang 楊伯峻, Chunqiu Zuo zhuan zhu 春秋左傳注 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1990), 192, 654 (Zhuang 13, Xuan 3).

56 For a mostly reliable, if dated, account of the history of elephants in China, see Wen, Zhongguo lishi shiqi zhiwu yu dongwu, 185–219.

57 Gansu sheng wenwu kaogu yanjiusuo, Qin'an Dadiwan: xinshiqi shidai yizhi fajue baogao 秦安大地灣: 新石器時代遺址發掘報告 (Beijing: Wenwu, 2006), 873. The northernmost site with clear evidence of wild elephants is Middle Neolithic period Xiawanggang, Henan, which is on the traditional border between North and South China.

58 There is some evidence for tamed elephants in the Shang-Zhou period: bowuguan, Hubei Sheng, Li yue Zhongguo: Hubei Sheng bowuguan guancang Shang Zhou qingtongqi tezhan 禮樂中國: 湖北省博物館館藏商周青銅器特展 (Wuhan: Hubei renmin chubanshe, 2014), 132; Fiskesjö, Magnus, “Rising From Blood-Stained Fields: Royal Hunting and State Formation in Shang China,” Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities 73 (2001): 8698; Knoblock, John and Riegel, Jeffrey, The Annals of Lü Buwei: A Complete Translation and Study (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), 5.151.

59 Turvey, Samuel T. et al. , “Holocene Survival of Late Pleistocene Megafauna in China: A Critical Review of the Evidence,” Quaternary Science Reviews 76 (2013): 160; Wen, Zhongguo lishi shiqi zhiwu yu dongwu, 210; Elvin, The Retreat of the Elephants, 10. Although Wen and Elvin did not know the dates of the elephant tooth, the presence of wooly rhinoceros bones should have made clear that the Holocene date in the original publication was unreliable. It should be noted that this does not undermine Elvin's description of elephants disappearing as agricultural civilization spread southward.

60 人希見生象也,而得死象之骨,案其圖以想其生也,故諸人之所以意想者皆謂之象也. Xianqian, Wang 王先謙, Han Feizi jijie 韓非子集解 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1998), 20.148.

61 Li, Baoguo, Pan, Ruliang, and Oxnard, Charles E., “Extinction of Snub-Nosed Monkeys in China During the Past 400 Years,” International Journal of Primatology 23.6 (2002): 1227–44.

62 Their remains have been identified at Early Neolithic Cishan (Hebei), Middle Neolithic Dadiwan and Xishanping (Gansu), Beishouling (Shaanxi), and Huangpo, Xiawanggang, and Xipo (Henan), and late Shang period Huixian Beicun (Shaanxi) and Anyang (Henan).

63 Yongzu, Zhang et al. , “Extinction of Rhesus Monkeys (Macaca mulatta) in Xinglung, North China,” International Journal of Primatology 10.4 (1989):375–81.

64 Bielenstein, Hans, “The Census in China during the Period 2–742 AD,” Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities 26 (1947), 125–63.

65 Larger animals have been disproportionately extinguished globally over the Holocene: Turvey, Samuel T. and Fritz, Susanne A., “The Ghosts of Mammals Past: Biological and Geographical Patterns of Global Mammalian Extinction across the Holocene,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 366.1577 (2011): 2564–76. This seems to reflect the fact that it is easier for smaller animals to adapt to environmental change.

66 The term shu 鼠 was used in early texts to refer to various small rodents.

67 Smith and Xie, Guide to the Mammals of China, 358–63.

68 Menzies, Nicholas, Science and Civilisation in China 6.3: Forestry, ed. Needham, Joseph (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).

69 These include Swinhoe's striped squirrel (Tamiops swinhoei), Pallas's squirrel (Callosciurus erythraeus), Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) and Siberian flying squirrel (Pteromys volans).

70 The Daurian pika (Ochotona dauurica) inhabits the dry region to the northwest of the study region, but has also been found in the Qinling, where the most common species is the Qinling pika (O. syrinx). The taxonomy of these species is still being revised: Lissovsky, Andrey A., “Taxonomic Revision of Pikas Ochotona (Lagomorpha, Mammalia) at the Species Level,” Mammalia 78.2 (2014): 199216. The identification of pikas at the Neolithic site of Banpo (in Xi'an) is probably a mistake.

71 E.g., Smith, Andrew T. and Foggin, J. Marc, “The Plateau Pika (Ochotona curzoniae) is a Keystone Species for Biodiversity on the Tibetan Plateau,” Animal Conservation 2 (1999), 235–40.

72 Smith and Xie, Guide to the Mammals of China, 298.

73 Asian gray shrew (Crocidura attenuata), Asian lesser white-toothed shrew (Crocidura shantungensis), Chinese mole shrew (Anourosorex squamipes) and De Winton's shrew (Chodsigoa hypsibia).

74 Large mole (Mogera robusta) and short-faced mole (Scaptochirus moschatus).

75 Yellow throated (Martes flavigula) and possibly beech (M. foina) martens.

76 Steppe polecat (Mustela eversmanii) probably inhabited the region, and ermine (M. erminea) and mountain weasel (M. altaica) were probably found on its northern edges.

77 Major et al., Huainanzi, 582; Ning, He 何寧, ed., Huainanzi jishi 淮南子集釋 (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1998), 15.1046.

78 Legge, James, The Chinese Classics II: The Works of Mencius (Taibei: SMC Publishing, 1991), 300; Gabriel, Otto et al. , Fish Catching Methods of the World, 4th ed. (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005), 33.

79 Such as the large Indian civet (Viverra zibetha) and small Indian civet (Viverricula indica).

80 Vigne, Jean-Denis et al. , “Earliest ‘Domestic’ Cats in China Identified as Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis),” PLOS ONE 11.1 (2016): e0147295.

81 Most notably the Asian golden cat (Catapuma temminicki): Smith and Xie, Guide to the Mammals of China, 392.

82 About 6% of sites from this period contained leopard remains and 16% had tiger remains.

83 Jacobson, Andrew P. et al. , “Leopard (Panthera pardus) Status, Distribution, and the Research Efforts across its Range,” PeerJ 4 (2016): e1974.

84 Smith and Xie, A Guide to the Mammals of China, 402.

85 Dan, Yu 于丹, “Tang xian Nanfangshui yizhi chutu dongwu yicun jianding baogao” 唐縣南放水遺址出土動物遺存監定報告,” in Tang xian Nanfangshui 唐縣南放水, ed. beidiao, Nanshui zhongxian qianxian gongcheng jianshe guanliju and Hubei sheng wenwuju (Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, 2011), 197231.

86 Smith and Xie, Guide to the Mammals of China, 416–21.

87 Dhole have been found at Early Neolithic Dadiwan (Gansu), Middle Neolithic Gongjiawan, Jiangzhai, and Wuzhuangguoliang (Shaanxi), Late Neolithic Kangjia and Longgangcun (Shaanxi), and Shang/Zhou period Zhenjiangying (Beijing)

88 Schafer, Edward H., “Brief Note: The Chinese Dhole,” Asia Major 4.1 (1991): 16.

89 Thalmann, O. et al. , “Complete Mitochondrial Genomes of Ancient Canids Suggest a European Origin of Domestic Dogs,” Science 342.6160 (2013): 871–74; Larson, G. and Bradley, D.G., “How Much Is That in Dog Years? The Advent of Canine Population Genomics,” PLoS Genetics 10.1 (2014): e1004093.

90 Zeder, Melinda A., “Pathways to Animal Domestication,” in Biodiversity in Agriculture: Domestication, Evolution, and Sustainability, ed. Gepts, Paul et al. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 227–59; Coppinger, Raymond and Coppinger, Laura, Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior & Evolution (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001).

91 As in North America, where they once lived as far south as Mexico.

92 On pandas in Chinese culture, see Harper, “The Cultural History of the Giant Panda.”

93 Trautmann, Thomas R., Elephants and Kings: An Environmental History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015); Brian Lander, “Environmental Change and the Rise of the Qin Empire: A Political Ecology of Ancient North China” (PhD diss., Columbia University, 2015).

94 荊有雲夢,犀兕麋鹿滿之,江漢之魚鼈鼂鼉為天下富;宋所為(謂)無雉兔狐狸者也. Johnston, Ian, The Mozi: A Complete Translation (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), 727; See also Qian, Sima 司馬遷, Shi ji 史記 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1959), 129.3266; Watson, Burton, Records of the Grand Historian: Han Dynasty Vol. 2 (Hong Kong: Renditions-Columbia University Press, 1993), 444.

95 Ho, Ping-ti, Studies on the Population of China, 1368–1953. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1959), 183–92.

96 南海則有羽翮, 齒革, 曾青, 丹干焉, 然而中國得而財之…虎豹為猛矣然君子剥而用之. Xianqian, Wang 王先謙, Xunzi jijie 荀子集解 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1988), 9.161; Knoblock, John, Xunzi: A Translation and Study of the Complete Works (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988), vol. 2, 142.

97 Wen, Zhongguo lishi shiqi zhiwu yu dongwu.

98 Cervus hortulorum in many excavation reports.

The authors are grateful for postdoctoral fellowships from the Harvard University Center for the Environment, the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, and the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University. We would like to thank Rowan Flad, John Major, Max Price, Andrew Smith and two anonymous reviewers for their comments.

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