Cave paintings found in Indonesia several decades ago were recently dated and found to be over 40,000 years old. This is contemporaneous with -- and perhaps even older than!- the most ancient works of art found throughout Europe.
So the main question now: how did art develop? Did the cave paintings here and in Europe both arise from a "common ancestor," the geometric rock scratchings in Africa? Or did they arise independently? If the latter is true, it is striking to observe the artistic similarities: hand stencils, depictions of local animals (such as the Babirusa from the Indonesian painting), and more.
If you're having trouble spotting the animals depicted in these photographs, check out the figures from the original Nature article:
Several cave paintings in Indonesia have been found to be much older than expected – casting doubt on what we thought we knew about the origins of art. The paintings, located on Sulawesi island in Indonesia several decades ago, may be over 40,000 years old, according to recent dating. That makes them at least as old as (and perhaps even older than) any cave art ever found, researchers reported Wednesday in the journal Nature. The location is what makes these paintings special: Scientists have found lots of cave paintings and carvings of this age, but only in Europe. These works of art -- 12 human hand stencils and two animal depictions spread throughout seven caves -- represent the first solid evidence that art existed in other places around the world during those early days.