Cave paint­ing shines light on early hu­mans

Tampa Bay Times - - Nation & World -

Sci­en­tists have found the old­est known ex­am­ple of an an­i­mal draw­ing: a red sil­hou­ette of a bull-like beast on the wall of an In­done­sian cave. The sketch in the cave in Bor­neo 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 are fuel­ing 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.

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