Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bird Painting May Be Australia's Oldest

This Aboriginal rock painting found in Australia's Arnhem Land could be Australia's oldest painting. The red ochre painting shows two emu-like birds with their necks outstretched, believed to be the megafauna species Genyornis.

Archaeologist Ben Gunn told ABC Radio the giant birds became extinct more than 40,000 years ago. “The details on this painting indicate that it was done by someone who knew that animal very well,” he said. “If it is a Genyornis ~ and it certainly does have all the features of one ~ it would be the oldest dated visual painting that we've got in Australia.”

“Either the painting is 40,000 years old ~ which is when science thinks Genyornis disappeared ~ or alternatively the Genyornis lived a lot longer than science has been able to establish,” Gunn added.

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