Some of the human figures have tails and snouts:
The 4.5-metre-long panel features reddish-brown forms that seem to depict human-like figures hunting local animal species. Previously, rock art found in European sites dated to around 14,000 to 21,000 years old were considered to be the world’s oldest clearly narrative artworks. The scientists working on the latest find say that the Indonesian art pre-dates these…
The depiction of these animal–human figures, known in mythology as therianthropes, suggests that early humans in Sulawesi had the ability to conceive of things that do not exist in the natural world, say the researchers. “We don’t know what it means, but it seems to be about hunting and it seems to maybe have mythological or supernatural connotations,” says Brumm.
The oldest such example from Europe is a half-lion, half-human ivory figure from Germany that researchers have estimated to be 40,000 years old — although some suggest that it might be significantly younger. A roughly 17,000 year-old painting of a bird-headed human being charged by a bison, from Lascaux Cave, is considered to be one of the earliest depictions of a clear scene in European rock art.
Ewen Callaway, “Is this cave painting humanity’s oldest story?” at Nature
Of course, the half-human/half-animal figures could be humans dressing up as animals, perhaps for cult reasons (if you dress like a pig, maybe you can think like one and thus figure out how to catch one… ) The mythology could follow, not precede, the custom.
See also: Neanderthal art found.
Follow UD News at Twitter!