World’s oldest animal drawing discovered


A new study claims that a cave in the Southeast Asian island of Borneo has the world’s oldest drawing of an animal. Researchers discovered paintings of a beast-like wild cow and believe it to be 40,000 years old. With this news, it is now believed that figurative cave art, which is regarded as the most significant innovation in human cultural history, began in Southeast Asia during the last Ice Age.

According to reports, these ancient drawings were discovered on the walls of secluded limestone caves, perched on top of mountains in the east Kalimantan province in Borneo, southeast Indonesia. Researchers collected samples of calcium carbonate to determine the date of the initial coating.

One of the researchers, Maxime Aubert, an archaeologist and geochemist at Griffith University, Australia, said his team used a technique called uranium series dating, which is achieved through radioactive decay. When rainwater seeps through limestone, it decomposes uranium, which is a radioactive element, into thorium. By analysing the ratio of uranium in the calcium-carbonate samples, the researchers were able to determine how old the painting was.

During the study, they also found that the artworks were made in three distinct periods. The first, which spanned between 52,000 to 40,000 years ago, had hand stencils of banteng, a type of wild cattle that is still present in Borneo, as well as the mysterious, unknown wild cow.