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Scientists have used one of the most reliable methods of dating to determine that a painting of a cattle-like animal found in a cave on the island of Borneo is at least 40,000 years old, making it the earliest known work of figurative art.
The researchers, whose findings were published in the journal Nature, divided the paintings in one cave into three categories that show that transition over time. The oldest images are red-orange paintings of animals, such as cattle, and hand stencils; followed by maroon-coloured hand stencils and depictions of humans; and finally, illustrations of humans, boats and black-coloured geometric designs.