Sunday, 12 October 2014

Cave paintings change ideas about the origin of art

8 October 2014 Last updated at 18:05

By Pallab Ghosh, Science correspondent, BBC News

Scientists have identified some of the earliest cave paintings produced by humans.

The artworks are in a rural area on the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi.

Until now, paintings this old had been confirmed in caves only in Western Europe.

Researchers tell the journal Nature that the Indonesian discovery transforms ideas about how humans first developed the ability to produce art.

Australian and Indonesian scientists have dated layers of stalactite-like growths that have formed over coloured outlines of human hands.

Early artists made them by carefully blowing paint around hands that were pressed tightly against the cave walls and ceilings. The oldest is at least 40,000 years old.

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