Half-animal, half-human hybrids depicted on "oldest cave art"

Half-animal, half-human hybrids depicted on

PanARMENIAN.Net - Cave art depicting a hunting scene has been found in Indonesia dated to 44,000 years old, making it the oldest rock art created by humans, CNN reports.

The painting itself is intriguing because it shows a group of figures that represent half-animal, half-human hybrids called therianthropes. The therianthropes are hunting warty pigs and dwarf buffaloes called anoas using spears and ropes.

The abstract figures depict a story, which changes our view of early human cognition, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The art could even show the foundation of human spirituality, given the supernatural scene depicted.

"To me, the most fascinating aspect of our research is that humanity's oldest cave art is at least 44,000 years old and it already has all the key components relating to modern cognition, [like] hand stencils, figurative art, storytelling, therianthropes and religious thinking," said Maxime Aubert, study author and professor of archaeological science at Griffith University. "So it must have a much older origin, possibly in Africa or soon after we left Africa."

Sulawesi, Indonesia is home to many intriguing limestone caves where other discoveries have been made. The same group of researchers previously found one of the oldest rock art hand stencils here in 2014, which was dated to 40,000 years ago.

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