Australian scientists have discovered the country’s oldest known drawing of a 17,300-year-old cave depicting a kangaroo.
A two-meter-tall artwork was discovered in the Kimberley region of western Australia with red ocher paint on the roof of a rock cave.
The authors of the study, published in Tuesday’s issue of Nature Human Behavior, determined the working age by analyzing the carbon isotopes of ancient wasp nests.
Damian Finch, a pioneer in carbon isotope historiography of hornet nests, said it’s rare to find a nest in or underneath the work. In the case of drawing kangaroos, they were lucky, so they were able to determine the earliest possible date and the last date for the work to be done.
“We determined the age of the three wasp nests under the plate and the three wasp nests on the plate by examining isotopes of carbon, which we can say with certainty that the work was done no later than 17,500 years, that is, no later than 17,100 years, probably 17,300 years.” .
The kangaroo depiction is estimated to be the oldest known complete cave painting in Australia.
Sven Ozman, a researcher at the University of Western Australia and co-author of the study, said there may be a link between kangaroo drawing and ancient artwork found in other areas.
This iconic kangaroo image visually resembles the 40,000-year-old paintings found on the islands of Southeast Asia, indicating cultural ties, but it could also mean that even ancient cave paintings might be hidden in Australia.
South Africa’s 73,000-year-old tambourine-like drawing is the oldest known drawing.