“Scientists have long been curious about the cultural lives of the first Homo sapiens to inhabit the lands to the immediate north of Australia sometime prior to 50,000 years ago — part of the great movement of our species out of Africa,” Associate Professor Brumm says, “Some have argued that Pleistocene human culture declined in sophistication as Homo sapiens ventured beyond India into the Southeast Asian tropics and the island chains east of continental Eurasia, known as ‘Wallacea’. “However, the onset of new research programs in Wallacea is steadily dismantling this view.” Adding to the 2014 breakthrough discovery of 40,000-year-old cave art on the Wallacean island of Sulawesi, which is said to be some of the world’s oldest, is a unique assemblage of previously unknown symbolic objects excavated from a Sulawesi cave site called Leang Bulu Bettue.
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