Discoveries on the island of Borneo highlight that cavern art emerged in Southeast Asia as early as in Western Europe, and with similar intricacy, scientists state.

A limestone collapse eastern Borneo includes a reddish-orange painting of a horned animal, perhaps a kind of wild livestock that might have been discovered on the island at the time. The painting dates to a minimum of 40,000 years earlier, concludes a group led by archaeologist Maxime Aubert of Griffith University in Southport, Australia. This animal represents the earliest recognized example of a painted figure throughout the world, the researchers report online November 7 in Nature

The very same cavern walls include 2 hand describes framed in reddish orange pigment that were made a minimum of 37,200 years earlier and a comparable hand stencil with an optimum age of 51,800 years.

3 close-by caverns show circumstances of a 2nd rock art design that appeared around 20,000 years earlier, the detectives state. Examples consist of purple-hued, humanlike figures and hand stencils, some embellished with lines or dots. Painted lines connect some hand stencils to others.

Age approximates rest on analyses of uranium in mineral deposits that had actually formed over and beneath parts of each cavern painting. Researchers utilized recognized decay rates of radioactive uranium in these deposits to compute optimum and minimum dates for the paintings.

Aubert’s group formerly utilized this strategy, called uranium-series dating, to compute that individuals on the close-by Indonesian island of Sulawesi produced hand stencils on cavern walls almost 40,000 years earlier ( SN: 11/15/14, p. 6).

a photo showing painted outlines of human hands on a cave wall< img src=" information: image/png; base64, iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAIAAAABCAIAAAB7QOjdAAAAGXRFWHRTb2Z0d2FyZQBBZG9iZSBJbWFnZVJlYWR5ccllPAAAAyZpVFh0WE1MOmNvbS5hZG9iZS54 bXAAAAAAADw/eHBhY2tldCBiZWdpbj0i(******************************* )u/IiBpZD0iVzVNME1wQ2VoaUh6cmVTek5UY3prYzlkIj8 + IDx4OnhtcG1ldGEgeG1sbnM6eD0iYWRvYmU6bnM6bWV0YS8iIHg6eG1wdGs9IkFkb2JlIFhNUCBDb3JlIDUuNi1jMTM4IDc5LjE1OTgyNCwgMjAxNi8wOS8xNC0wMTowOTowMSAgICAgICAgIj4gPHJkZjpSREYgeG1sbnM6cmRmPSJodHRwOi8vd3d3LnczLm9yZy8xOTk5LzAyLzIyLXJkZi1zeW50 YXgtbnMjIj4gPHJkZjpEZXNjcmlwdGlvbiByZGY6YWJvdXQ9IiIgeG1sbnM6eG1wPSJodHRwOi8vbnMuYWRvYmUuY29 tL3hhcC8xLjAvIiB4bWxuczp4bXBNTT0iaHR0cDovL(******************************************* )zLmFkb2JlLmNvbS94 YXAvMS4wL21 tLyIgeG1sbnM6c3RSZWY9Imh0dHA6Ly9ucy5hZG9iZS5jb20 veGFwLzEuMC9zVHlwZS9SZXNvdXJjZVJlZiMiIHhtcDpDcmVhdG9yVG9vbD0iQWRvYmUgUGhvdG9zaG9wIENDIDIwMTcgKFdpbmRvd3MpIiB4bXBNTTpJbnN0YW5jZUlEPSJ4bXAuaWlkOkQ0OTU4Nzk4RTcwMDExRTc4REVDOUM3QzgxMzY3QzExIiB4bXBNTTpEb2N1bWVudElEPSJ4bXAuZGlkOkQ0OTU4Nzk5RTcwMDExRTc4REVDOUM3QzgxMzY3QzExIj4gPHhtcE1NOkRlcml2ZWRGcm9tIHN0UmVmOmluc3RhbmNlSUQ9InhtcC5paWQ6RDQ5NTg3OTZFNzAwMTFFNzhERUM5QzdDODEzNjdDMTEiIHN0UmVmOmRvY3VtZW(*************************************a photo of human figures painted on a cave wall in Borneo Neandertals painted abstract shapes and hand stencils(***** )on the walls of a number of Spanish caverns a minimum of64,(********************* )years earlier ((****** )SN: 3/17/18, p. 6).(*** ).(** )Aubert’s group has actually slammed that research study, stating the scientists might have accidentally dated mineral deposits that are much older than the art work. If so, people instead of Neandertals might have produced the Spanish cavern art.

(** )On the other hand, researchers who performed the Neandertal cavern art research study reveal their own doubts about the dependability of dates for the Borneo paintings. Descriptions of tested mineral deposits from the Borneo caverns leave it uncertain whether, for instance, Aubert’s group dated the horned animal figure or surrounding paint residues of some other, unknown figure, states archaeologist João Zilhão of the University of Barcelona.

Zilhão and Neandertal paper coauthor Paul Pettitt of Durham University in England do not question that cavern painting emerged in Southeast Asia a minimum of 40,000 years earlier. However they and Aubert’s group disagree about how to gather mineral samples for dating rock art.