Rock art discovered in the Amazon shows humans with animals the Ice Age | Notícias Nacionais | JORNAL PACIFISTA 

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Notícias Nacionais / 10/12/2020

Rock art discovered in the Amazon shows humans with animals the Ice Age

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Rock art discovered in the Amazon shows humans with animals the Ice Age

Fonte CNN

Thousands of records of rock art depicting huge creatures the Ice Age - like mastodons - have been revealed by researchers in the Amazon rainforest.

The paintings were probably made around 11,800 to 12,600 years ago, according to a press release researchers at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.

Located in Serranía La Lindosa, in current Colombia, rock art shows how the first human inhabitants of the area would have coexisted with the Ice Age megafauna, with records showing what appear to be giant sloths, mastodons, camelids, horses and three ungulates with toes with trunks.

"These images are really incredible, produced by the first people to live in western Amazonia," said Mark Robinson, an archeologist at the University of Exeter.

"The paintings give a vivid and exciting glimpse into the lives of these communities. It is unbelievable for us today to think that they lived among and hunted giant herbivores, some the size of a small car."

Other photos show human figures, geometric shapes and hunting scenes, as well as animals such as deer, tapirs, crocodiles, bats, monkeys, turtles, snakes and hedgehogs.

The red paintings, made with pigments extracted shaved ocher, make up one of the largest collections of rock art in South America.

At the time the drawings were made, the Amazon was changing a patchwork of savannas, rainforest and thorny scrub to the broadleaved rainforest we know today.

The artists would have used fire to exfoliate the rock and make flat surfaces for painting, experts say. Although the paintings are exposed to natural impacts, they are protected by protruding stones, which means that they remain in better condition than other rock art found in the Amazon.

Cerro Azul cave with images of mastodons

Some of them were painted so high on the rock that "special stairs made with forest resources would have been necessary" to create them, according to the press release.

The people who painted the pictures were hunter-gatherers who ate fruit palm trees and trees, as well as fishing piranhas and crocodiles in the nearby river. Bones and plant remains also reveal that they ate snakes, frogs, armadillos and rodents, including paca and capybara.

The researchers involved are trying to find out when humans settled in the Amazon region and how their presence affected biodiversity.

José Iriarte, professor of Archeology at Exeter, told CNN that the findings are an initial stage of a five-year project.

One of the immediate goals is to document all the rock art in the area and find out what other animals are depicted, he said.

"These cave paintings are spectacular evidence of how humans rebuilt the land and how they hunted, farmed and fished," said Iriarte in the press release.

"It is likely that art was a powerful part of culture and a way for people to connect socially. The photos show how people would have lived among giant animals, now extinct, that they hunted."

Iriarte was impressed by the realism of the paintings, which were produced during a rare window in which the first humans lived alongside the megafauna.

“The level of fauna observation was incredible,” he said.

The cave paintings appear in a new TV series, "Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon", on Channel 4 in the UK, and the findings are also described in an article in Quaternary International magazine.

Robinson and Iriarte worked on the project alongside Javier Aceituno Universidad de Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia and Gaspar Morcote-Rios Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá.

Communities in the local area knew about the cave paintings and helped researchers document them in the wake of the 2016 peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla group, which disarmed after 52 years of conflict.

Researchers worked on the site in 2017 and 2018.

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