The sketch is at least 40,000 years old, slightly older than similarfound in famous caves in France and Spain. Until a few years ago, experts believed Europe was where our ancestors started drawing animals and other figures.
But the age of the drawing reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, along with previous discoveries in Southeast Asia, suggest that figurative drawing appeared in both continents about the same time.
…After large animal drawings and stencils, “It seems the focus shifted to showing the human world,” Aubert said.
Around 14,000 years ago, the cave-dwellers began to regularly sketch human figures doing things like dancing and hunting, often wearing large headdresses. A similar transition in rock art subjects happened in the caves of Europe.
…Whether new waves of people migrating from Africa brought the skills of figurative cave painting with them, or whether these arts emerged later, remains unclear. Scientists have only a partial record of global rock art. The earliest cave etchings have been found in Africa and include abstract designs, like crosshatches, dating to around 73,000 years ago.