In DepthArchaeology

Cave painting suggests ancient origin of modern mind

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  13 Dec 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6471, pp. 1299
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6471.1299

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

An ancient cave painting found on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi shows part-human, part-animal hunters surrounding indigenous prey animals. At 44,000 years old, the hunting scene is thought to be the oldest figurative rock art yet discovered that was created by our own species. The painting belongs to a rich tradition of ancient rock art in Indonesia. On Sulawesi, artists were drawing on caves in a similar style for at least 20,000 years. The new finding's old age, combined with Indonesia's remoteness from the cradle of human evolution in Africa, suggests the cognitive abilities that permit abstract, imaginative thought have been with humanity for a very, very long time.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science