Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By Alton Parrish (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

Found in Rubbish: 13,500 Year Old Bird Is Oldest Carved Figure Yet Discovered in China

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

A small bird carving–the oldest instance of East Asian three-dimensional art ever discovered–is described in a study published June 10, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Zhanyang Li from Shandong University, China, and colleagues.

European animal and human mammoth ivory carvings dated to 40-38 ka are our earliest examples of prehistoric humans three-dimensionally representing the world around them–though due to a lack of evidence, it’s unclear when this type of three-dimensional representation became part of the cultural repertoire of prehistoric groups around the rest of the world. In this study, Li and colleagues describe the remarkable discovery of a small standing bird carving from the Paleolithic site of Lingjing, in Henan, China, that sheds further light on humanity’s earliest three-dimensional art.

Photograph and 3D μ-CT reconstitution of the miniature bird figurine discovered at Lingjing (Henan Province, China), dated to 13 500 years ago. 
Credit: Francesco d’Errico and Luc Doyon
During Li’s initial excavation at Lingjing in 2005, he uncovered eleven distinct stratified layers ranging in age from 120,000 years ago to the Bronze Age –and found that most of the fifth layer had been removed during a well-digging operation in 1958. However, the refuse heap from the well’s creation was still intact and remained nearby. After sifting through the sediment in the refuse heap, the authors discovered black flint identical to (and only found in) what remained of Layer 5 at the dig site. They also uncovered several artifacts, including pottery sherds, burned animal remains, and the bird figurine, which is carved from bone and shaped like a songbird on a pedestal.

Using radiocarbon dating on the uncovered burned animal remains (including one bone with anthropogenic gouging marks also observed on the bird carving), the authors were able to estimate the age of the bird figurine and associated bone material to be approximately 13.4-13.2 ka cal BP. Based on evidence from other Northern Chinese sites of similar age, this suggests that hunter-gatherers with stone tool technologies occupied Lingjing and created the bird carving during this time.

Bird representations are a theme in Chinese Neolithic art, with the oldest example a jade songbird dated to approximately 5 ka BP. This Paleolithic bone bird figurine from Lingjing predates previously known instances from this region by almost 8,500 years, and has several technological and stylistic elements distinguishing it from contemporaneous representations of birdlike creatures from Western Europe and Siberia (such as the pedestal on which the Lingjing bird is perched). Though more examples of Paleolithic carving art are needed to confirm this possibility, the Lingjing bird figurine suggests the presence of a longstanding artistic tradition specific to East Asia, with origins much earlier in the Paleolithic.

The authors add: “This discovery identifies an original artistic tradition and pushes back by more than 8,500 years the representation of birds in Chinese art. The figurine differs technologically and stylistically from other specimens found in Western Europe and Siberia, and it could be the missing link tracing the origin of Chinese statuary back to the Palaeolithic period.”

Contacts and sources:
Francesco d’Errico


Publication: Citation: A Paleolithic bird figurine from the Lingjing site, Henan, China. Li Z, Doyon L, Fang H, Ledevin R, Queffelec A, Raguin E, et al. (2020)  PLoS ONE 15(6): e0233370.

Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at

Get our Free Ebook, "Suppressed Health Secrets"  with  Natural Cures THEY don't want you to know!

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Organic Hemp Extract (CBD) - Full Spectrum high CBD (3300mg) hemp extract eases stiff joints, relieves stress and more!
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Immusist Beverage Concentrate - Proprietary blend, formulated to reduce inflammation while hydrating and oxygenating the cells.

Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Load more ...




Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.