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South Africa, Sep 12 (Canadian-Media): Scientists discovered a 73,000 years old sketch in a South African cave was believed to be the world's oldest known drawing by the humans, said the researchers in a report released Wednesday by the journal Nature, media reports said.
This sketch was created with a sharpened flake of ochre, a pigment widely used in the ancient world, said Christopher Henshilwood of the University of Bergen in Norway.
The sketch looking a bit like a hashtag is a proof that early humans in southern Africa could produce designs on various surfaces with different techniques.
The sketch has six red lines crossed by three other curved lines appears on a tiny flake of mineral crust and is believed to be part of a larger drawing, said the researchers, because lines reaching the edge are cut off abruptly there.
Blombos Cave silcrete flakes/Courtesy of Journal Nature
The hashtag design was produced widely over the past 100,000 years in rock art and paintings proving that the sketch is probably not just a collection of random scratchings.
Similar patterns are engraved in other artifacts from the cave, Henshilwood said and added,
"It almost certainly had some meaning to the maker, and probably formed a part of the common symbolic system understood by other people in this group," Henshilwood said.
The finding gives evidence that early humans could store information outside the brain and supports the argument that early members of our species behaved essentially like us before they left Africa for Europe and Asia, he said.
Silvia Bello, a researcher at the Natural History Museum in London who didn't participate in the study, called the finding important.
"It further shows how rich and complex human behaviour already was 73,000 years ago," she said in an email.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)