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Badger jaw bones (獸骨)

Animal bones excavated from the Lu-Liao site included those of deer, Formosan Reeve’s muntjac, wild boar, badger, goat, rabbit and mouse. There were also some fish bones mixed in. These may represent part of the diet of this culture. These remains are referred to as eco-remains. They provide clues about the environment and lifestyles of prehistoric peoples.

Some of the animal bones excavated from this site showed signs of chipping and cutting. This suggests that the prehistoric peoples of that time were using animal bones to process other animal bones or that these are unfinished tools or utensils.

Among the deer bones excavated from the Lu-Liao site were a large number of upper and lower jawbones, teeth and vertebrae. Many of these bones were well preserved. There was one antler specimen that had been broken and showed signs of scorching by fire, as well as one antler base. From comparisons of the excavated bones with those of deer today, it is possible to determine the types and positions of the bones. However, it is not possible to determine if they are from the Formosan sika deer (Cervus nippon taiouanus) or the Formosan sambar (Cervus unicolor swinhoei). From habitat analyses, the distribution of the Formosan sika deer once included the entire island of Taiwan at low elevations from the plains to the hilly areas, around 300 meters or lower. The current distribution of the Formosan sambar is at higher elevations, generally more than 1,000 meters. Thus, it is more likely that the prehistoric residents of this site hunted Formosan sika deer.

Formosan Reeve’s muntjac
Formosan Reeeve’s muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi micrurus) is a small deer of the Cervidae family. It is found in mountain forests from low elevation to 3,000 meters. It is most often seen in broad-leaved and mixed forests.

Most of the Formosan’s Reeve’s muntjac bones excavated from the Luliao site were upper and lower jaws. Two antler specimens were also discovered.

Formosan wild boar
The pig bones that were excavated from the Lu-Liao site are most likely of the Formosan wild boar and include lower jaw bones and teeth.

The Formosan wild boar (Sus scrofa taivan) is currently found at elevations of 3,000 meters and below in undeveloped mountain forests. In low-elevation areas, Formosan wild boar forage for food in agricultural fields. During prehistoric times, Formosan wild boar mostly inhabited the plains.

Skull of a present-day wild boar.

Two goat horns with pointed tip were excavated from the Lu-Liao site. One of them had a blackened surface due to scorching by fire.

Two specimens of upper and lower jawbone were discovered at the Lu-Liao site and were sent for identification to Yan-Jun Chen, an assistant curator in the Zoology Department of the National Museum of Natural Science, and Qi Guoqin, a researcher in the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. They were confirmed to be badger upper and lower jawbones. The badger (Meles meles Linnaeus) belongs to the Family Mustelidae of the Order Carnivora. Its habitat includes forests and areas of shrub along mountain slopes, as well as areas along lakes, rivers and streams. This animal digs burrows. The discovery of badger bones and teeth at the Lu-Liao site confirms that there were originally badgers living in Taiwan. However, there are currently no traces of badger activity. Perhaps, they became extinct in Taiwan due to the destruction of their habitat.



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