Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (01): 75-86.doi: 10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0028

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Multi-isotope analysis on the Yangtze Alligator osteoderm unearthed from Yellow River Valley during the Longshan Period

ZHANG Xingxiang1(), LI Yong1, WU Xiaotong1,2(), SONG Yanbo2, LUAN Fengshi2, XUE Xinming3, JIN Zhengyao1   

  1. 1. USTC Archaeometry Laboratory, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026
    2. School of History and Culture, Shandong University, Jinan 250100
    3. Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, Taiyuan 030001
  • Received:2018-07-24 Revised:2018-12-18 Online:2021-02-15 Published:2021-02-25
  • Contact: WU Xiaotong;


Chinese alligators (Alligator sinensis) nowadays inhabit the downstream Yangtze River, but the alligator remains were found at several archaeological sites in Yellow river region during the Longshan period (5000~4000 BP cal). To determine whether these Yangtze alligators were indigenous or were part of long-distance trading from Yellow river region, we conducted Sr, C and O isotopic analysis of seven alligator osteoderms samples from Qingliangsi, Dinggong and Yinjiacheng sites dating from the Late Longshan Period. The87Sr/86Sr ratios of these alligator osteoderms in three sites fall into the local bioavailable 87Sr/86Sr ranges, and the δ 18O ratio of Shandong samples was higher than Shanxi samples, which was consistent with the trend of δ 18O increasing from the inland to coastal, indicating that these remains are mainly indigenous. The δ 13C of Chinese alligator osteoderm were significantly higher than the rest of the world’s inland freshwater systems crocodile, showing complex diet characteristics. The result of isotopes that is better to understand the geographical distribution change of Yangtze alligators in different periods, which is of great significance for reconstructing the paleo-environment of North China more than 4000 years ago. It also raised new questions about the relationship between the ancestors of Longshan and the Chinese alligator.

Key words: Longshan period, Alligator sinensis, Isotope, Paleoenvironment

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