This stencil of a graceful, outstretched hand was discovered in a cave on an Indonesian island. And now we know that it's more than 39,900 years old. That makes it the oldest painting in the world, at least so far, and shows that humans in Asia developed symbolic expression at the same time as humans in Europe.
This cave painting is thought to be 43,000 years old, making it 8,000 years older than any other known art. It was most likely the work of Neanderthals, who apparently discovered the DNA double helix 43 millennia before we did.
The artistic skill and attention to detail on display in prehistoric cave paintings is nothing short of astonishing, but one unsolved mystery is whether prehistoric humans simply painted exactly what the saw, or if the art was more symbolic. And recently, we've come a lot closer to answering that question.
This is perhaps the oldest painting on the continent of Australia. It depicts the Genyornis, a giant bird that went extinct 40,000 years ago. And it's one of the only snapshots we have of the ancient creature.