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44,000-yr-old animal painting found in cave

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Update: 2019-12-12 14:48:37
44,000-yr-old animal painting found in cave

A painting discovered on the wall of an Indonesian cave has been found to be 44,000 years old.

The art appears to show a buffalo being hunted by part-human, part-animal creatures holding spears and possibly ropes.

Some researchers think the scene could be the world's oldest-recorded story.

The findings were presented in the journal Nature by archaeologists from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia.

Adam Brumm - an archaeologist at Griffith - first saw the pictures two years ago, after a colleague in Indonesia shimmied up a fig tree to reach the cave passage.

"These images appeared on my iPhone," said Mr Brumm. "I think I said the characteristic Australian four-letter word out very loud."

The Indonesian drawing is not the oldest in the world. Last year, scientists said they found "humanity's oldest drawing" on a fragment of rock in South Africa, dated at 73,000 years old.

The drawings were found in a cave called Leang Bulu'Sipong 4 in the south of Sulawesi, an Indonesian island east of Borneo.

The panel is almost five metres wide and appears to show a type of buffalo called an anoa, plus wild pigs found on Sulawesi.

Alongside them are smaller figures that look human - but also have animal features such as tails and snouts.

In one section, an anoa is flanked by several figures holding spears.

"I've never seen anything like this before," said Mr Brumm. "I mean, we've seen hundreds of rock art sites in this region - but we've never seen anything like a hunting scene."

However, other researchers have questioned whether the panel represents a single story - and say it could be a series of images painted over a longer period.

"Whether it's a scene is questionable," says Paul Pettitt, an archaeologist and rock-art specialist at Durham University told Nature.

Source: BBC

BDST: 1448 HRS, DEC 12, 2019

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