A nearly-life-size depiction of a kangaroo — realistic genitalia included — is the oldest known rock painting in Australia. Scientists recently pinpointed its age to 17, years ago with a technique that had never been used on Australian ancient art before: measuring radioactive carbon in wasp nests from rocks near the artwork. The kangaroo painting extends across the ceiling of a rock shelter and spans nearly 7 feet 2 meters , which is roughly the height of a modern kangaroo. This and other paintings in northwestern Australia's Kimberley region share certain stylistic features with the earliest cave art from Europe and Asia, the researchers reported. Very old animal paintings such as these are typically life-size or close to it ; they represent anatomy in a similar way, and their outlines are only partly filled-in with sketched lines. Because of these features, the paintings were thought to be among Australia's oldest.
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New Technology For Dating Ancient Rock Paintings -- ScienceDaily
A rock painting is the evidence of early humans' form of expression depicting their daily lives and their surroundings. In Australia, it is known as Aboriginal rock art, the oldest form of indigenous Australian art. It is estimated that there are over , rock art sites in Australia that provide a unique and rich archive of indigenous art, according to Artyfactory. Recently, scientists in Australia announced that the oldest rock painting in the continent is of its most iconic animal, the kangaroo. The kangaroo rock painting was painted using dark mulberry paint on a rock shelter's sloping ceiling in the northeastern Kimberley region west of Australia. Other rock paintings were also found in the same region. Australian rock art is categorized into five different phases, with the oldest phase is known as the naturalistic phase.
Development of new techniques makes it possible to date Australian Aboriginal rock art
Australia's oldest known rock shelter painting has been dated at 17, years old in a finding that may unlock greater understanding of Indigenous cultural history. The kangaroo painting was found on Balanggarra country in the northeast Kimberley region of Western Australia. It is the oldest known painting still on the wall of a rock shelter in Australia. Researchers from the University of Western Australia and University of Melbourne worked with traditional owners, using radiocarbon dating on mud wasp nests over and under 16 rock art paintings to determine their age. The results, published in Nature Human Behaviour, form part of Australia's largest rock art dating project.
A painting of a kangaroo in Western Australia is the oldest known rock art in the country, according to scientists, who say radiocarbon-dating analysis shows it was created more than 17, years ago. Scientists at several universities and research agencies worked with local indigenous leaders to analyze the paintings, with their findings published Monday in the journal Nature Human Behaviour. Art painted on rocks are some of the earliest recorded attempts at human communication, with some of the oldest examples of animal depictions found in Sulawesi, Indonesia. However, it has proven a challenge to date paintings older than 6, years, since organic material in the paint pigment — which is crucial for radiocarbon dating — is hard to find.