Earliest figurative artwork found in a cave that's full of surprises

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They dated hand stencils, created by blowing red dye through a tube to capture the outline of a hand pressed against rock, to nearly 40,000 years ago.

"We also want to date more rock art in order to refine the minimum and maximum ages for each styles and also find out how long they lasted", Aubert concluded.

The dates obtained from calcium carbonate samples collected from the near-inaccessible cave art provided the first reliable estimates for the approximate time of rock art production, and were far older than previously thought, Aubert said. Researchers have known about these human-made drawings since 1994, but they didn't know when the illustrations were created until now, said Aubert, who worked with Indonesia's National Research Centre for Archaeology (ARKENAS) and the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB).

After examining it with a geometric dating method, the painting is discovered to be 40,000 years old and declared to be the oldest figurative cave art found on earth.

The world's oldest figurative painting has been found in a cave, along with other phases showing a progression of human artwork, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. Until a few years ago, experts believed Europe was where our ancestors started drawing animals and other figures.

In 2014 we revealed that similar rock art appeared in the Maros caves of Sulawesi around 40,000 years ago.

The oldest known figurative cave art painting in the world may be a 40,000-year-old rendering of a species of wild cattle found in a Borneo cave by a group of Griffith University researchers.

Since the 1990s, the peninsula has been known to store a series of ancient images, including thousands of depictions of human hands (stencils), animals, body_abstract symbols, and interconnected motifs. Vivid images of prehistoric rhinos, cave lions, and horses there have been dated to about 35,000 years old.

Until recently, most researchers thought the home of the earliest figurative paintings-those depicting people and animals rather than abstract objects-was France's Chauvet Cave.

The animal appears to have a spear shaft stuck in its flank and is one of a series of similar red-orange coloured paintings, which were made with iron-oxide pigment.

"Maybe that's because it hasn't been found or dated, maybe they were different waves of human migration, maybe the dating for the earliest arrival or humans in Southeast Asia and Australia is wrong, or maybe it has to do with population density - population could have significantly increased", he noted.

Maxime Aubert said: "It looks like there was a transition from depicting the animal world to [depicting] the human world".

In the early 2000s the French-Indonesian team dated part of a cave drapery formation that had grown over the top of a hand stencil.

Of the aforementioned mulberry paintings, researchers found the oldest examples were between 21,000 and 20,000 years old, while a mulberry human figure painting was a minimum of 13,600 years old. In addition to the animal, in East Kalimantan, there are also representations of human hands. "And it's interesting because I think we have the same thing in Europe". "People adopted similar strategies in different environments as they became more modern".

"Who are the artists and what happened to them is still a mystery", he added.

After large animal drawings and stencils, "It seems the focus shifted to showing the human world", Aubert said. It's a window into the past, and you can see their lives that they depicted.

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