Saturday, October 11, 2014


Indonesian cave painting. Photograph from
-cave-paintings-as-old-as-europes-ancient-art, attributed
to Kinza Riza/ Courtesy of

“For decades, Indonesian researchers have known about rock art in limestone caves and rock shelters on an island called Sulawesi. The hand stencils and images of local animals, such as the "pig-deer,"  or babirusa were assumed to be less than 10,000 years old, because scientists thought that the humid tropical environment would have destroyed anything older.”

"The truth of it was, no one had really tried to date it," says Matt Tochiri of the Human Origins Program of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. "It's not easy to date rock art."

Painted babirusa (pig-deer) and hand print. 
Photograph by Kinza Riza, Reuters.

“Now, though, in the journal Nature, a group of researchers from Indonesia and Australia, led by Maxime Aubert and Adam Brumm, have analyzed mineral deposits that formed on top of these paintings in seven caves. Their analysis shows that one hand stencil is at least 39,900 years old and a painting of a babirusa is at least 35,400 years old.”

On September 20, 2014 I posted URANIUM ISOTOPE DATING REVEALS PERHAPS THE OLDEST CAVE ART IN EUROPE which shows red ochre negative hand prints, strikingly like the Indonesian example, which dated to 40,800 years PB. Now we have dates literally in the same ball park that come from virtually identical images from opposite sides of the world. To me this implies that not only might there be a common source, but that source must be considerably older to have allowed for the separation of populations to such geographic extremes at that early date.

What is still waiting to be found out there?


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