Day: February 25, 2021

17,300-year-old kangaroo found in Australia is country’s oldest intact rock art

Ian Waina, a traditional owner and Indigenous descendent, inspects a painting of a kangaroo found in Western Australia’s Kimberley region.


Peter Veth and the Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation. Illustration by Pauline Heaney

Scientists can now point to a large kangaroo as Australia’s oldest intact rock painting.

A team led by researchers at the University of Melbourne dated the painting in Western Australia to between 17,100 and 17,500 years old, settling on 17,300 as the likely age. To handle the tricky art of figuring out the painting’s age, they got creative and turned to radiocarbon dating of mud wasp nests. 

Radiocarbon dating lets scientist make age estimates for organic materials. The location of several wasp nests both under and over the pigment made it possible to dial in when it was created.

The painting was found on

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