- From animal footprint carvings found in the Doro Nawas Mountains, researchers were able to identify the species, gender, age group of the animals and which leg of the animal the carving belonged to.
- The number of human footprints in the rock gallery is higher than in similar areas, and most of the footprints belong to young people.
- These particular engravings date from the Late Stone Age, which began approximately 50,000 years ago.
The animal footprint carvings found in the Doro Nawas Mountains in western Namibia are quite extraordinary. Because artists depict tracks accurately, a lot of useful information can be revealed about the animals the footprints represent.
A team from the Heinrich Barth Institute and University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany and the Nyae Nyae Conservancy in Namibia, working with monitoring experts from the Kalahari region, examined a total of 513 carvings. For more than 90% of these marks, experts were able to identify the species, gender, age group, and even which leg of the animal the engraving belonged to.
Animal and human footprints are often found in prehistoric cave art. What is not clear, however, is why the ancient artists wanted to record these traces.
According to one view, they may have been used as an educational tool. However, the location of some of the engravings, the height at which they were placed, and the general darkness of the caves mean that they would not form ideal classes. Researchers have been unable to find a plausible hypothesis for these rock carvings.
It is clear that the expertise offered by local people is vital in unlocking the secrets found in archaeological excavations. All of the monitoring experts consulted here have been involved in other studies on ancient rock art in the past.
Long ago carvers showed particular preferences for certain animal species, including giraffes, rhinos, and leopards, tending to depict adults rather than juveniles and males rather than females.
The number of human footprints in the rock gallery is higher than in similar areas, and most of them belong to young people. Also unusual is the absence of pets and reptiles.
All of these discoveries were made possible by the accuracy of the art itself and the local expertise used to catalog it.
These particular engravings date from the Late Stone Age, which began approximately 50,000 years ago. While some are records of animals still living in the area, other creatures are no longer there, giving researchers an indication of how the region’s climate may have changed over time.
Although it is difficult to interpret cave art without talking to the carvers themselves, these depictions offer an invaluable window into the past, giving us insight into how humans and animals once lived together.
Researchers said, “Taken together, the features examined in this study indicate that the traces are endowed with complex meanings.” he writes.
Research PLOS ONE It was published in the magazine.
Compiled by: Burçin Bağatur