Old­est known an­i­mal draw­ing found in cave

Belleville News-Democrat - - Nation & World - BY CHRISTINA LAR­SON

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.

LUC-HENRI FAGE kali­man­thrope.com

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.