Oldest known animal drawing found in cave
Scientists have found the oldest known example of an animal drawing: a red silhouette of a bulllike beast on the wall of a remote Indonesian cave.
The sketch is at least 40,000 years old, slightly older than similar animal paintings found in famous caves in France and Spain. Until a few years ago, experts believed Europe was where our ancestors started drawing animals and other figures.
But the age of the drawing reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, along with previous discoveries in Southeast Asia, suggest that figurative drawing appeared in both continents about the same time.
The new findings fuel discussions about whether historical or evolutionary events prompted this near-simultaneous “burst of human creativity,” said lead author Maxime Aubert, an archaeologist and geochemist at Griffith University in Australia.
The remote limestones caves on Borneo have been known to contain prehistoric drawings since the 1990s.
To reach them, Aubert and his team used machetes to hack through thick jungle in a verdant corner of the island.
As for the red bull, its meaning remains a mystery.
“We think it wasn’t just food for them – it meant something special,” said Aubert.
A composite image from the book “Borneo, Memory of the Caves” shows the world’s oldest figurative artwork dated to a minimum of 40,000 years in a limestone cave in the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo.