Archaeologists have uncovered 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 first settlement of humans on the planet.
The painting is part of a narrative scene, with two handprints above the pig’s back body. It was painted using a dark ocher pigment with a pair of horn-shaped facial warts drawn on it.
The painting measures 36cm by 54cm, according to the report.
“The people who did it were totally modern, they were like us, they had all the abilities and all the tools to do any painting they liked,” Maxime Aubert, co-author, told the BBC of the report published in Science Advances journal, as said.
Co-author Adam Brumm said the pig in the photo could observe a fight or social interaction between two other warty pigs.
Dating specialist Brumm found a calcite deposit that had formed on the isotope of paint and uranium to suggest it was at least 45,500 years old.
“But it could be much older because the dating we use only dates the calcite on it,” he added.
In what could be another remarkable find, the researchers say it’s possible they could find residual saliva on the handprints in the mural. The artists allegedly used saliva to stick the pigment on the hand to place it on the surface.
They now hope to extract DNA samples for further studies.
The painting was found in Leang Tedongnge Cave in a remote valley on Sulawesi Island.
Painting may be the oldest art in the world depicting a recognizable object.
Previously, a rock art painting had been found by the same team on Sulawesi, depicting a group of half-human and half-animal figures hunting mammals. It has been estimated to be around 43,900 years old.
In South Africa, a hashtag-shaped doodle has been found, estimated to be 73,000 years old. It is believed to be the oldest known art.