World’s oldest cave painting discovered in Indonesia

Shweta Sharma
·2 min read
<p>This undated handout photo shows a dated pig painting at Leang Tedongnge in Sulawesi, Indonesia.</p> (AFP via Getty)

This undated handout photo shows a dated pig painting at Leang Tedongnge in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

(AFP via Getty)

Archaeologists have discovered the world's oldest known animal cave painting of a wild pig in Indonesia, believed to have been drawn 45,500 years ago, providing evidence of the earliest settlement of humans in the planet.

The painting is part of a narrative scene, with two hand impressions above the pig’s rear body. It has been painted using a dark ochre pigment with a pair of horn-like facial warts drawn on it.

The painting measures 36cm by 54cm, according to the report.

"The people who made it were fully modern, they were just like us, they had all of the capacity and the tools to do any painting that they liked," BBC quoted Maxime Aubert, the co-author of the report published in Science Advances journal, as saying.

Co-author Adam Brumm said the pig in the picture might be observing a fight or a social interaction between two other warty pigs.

The dating specialist, Mr Brumm found a calcite deposit that had formed over the painting and uranium-series isotope to suggest it was at least 45,500 years old.

"But it could be much older because the dating that we're using only dates the calcite on top of it," he added.

In what could be another remarkable find, the researchers say there is a possibility they can find residual saliva on the handprints on the mural. The artists would have used saliva to stick pigment over hand to place it on the surface.

They are now hoping to extract DNA samples for further studies.

The painting was found in Leang Tedongnge cave in a remote valley on the island of Sulawesi.

The painting could be the world’s oldest art depicting a recognisable object.

Earlier, a rock art painting was found by the same team on Sulawesi, portraying a group of part-human, part-animal figures hunting mammals. It was estimated to be about 43,900 years old.

In South Africa, a hashtag-like doodle was found, estimated to be 73,000 years old. It is believed to be the oldest known art.

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