Today’s Solutions: November 29, 2021

It’s profound how one historical discovery can completely change our view of the past. Recently in Indonesia, archaeologists made a discovery that did just that. What the archaeologists discovered was cave art depicting human-animal hybrid figures hunting warty pigs and dwarf buffaloes.

Previously, images of this level of sophistication dated to about 20,000 years, but the archaeologists in Indonesia have dated back their newly discovered cave art to nearly 44,000 years old. That makes it the earliest known cave art by our species.

The painting, discovered in 2017, is one of hundreds in South Sulawesi, including a red hand stencil, which was dated to at least 40,000 years ago. But the latest finding is exceptional as it is more than twice as old as any previously known narrative scenes and hints at ancient myths and an early capacity for imagination.

Human-animal hybrids occur in the folklore of almost every modern society and are frequently cast as gods, spirits or ancestral beings in religions across the world. With this newly discovered cave art, archaeologists have found yet another location where human-animal hybrids were depicted through art.

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