Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

White-lipped peccary trails lead to archeological discovery in Brazil: 4,000- to 10,000-year-old cave drawings

Date:
November 7, 2013
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
While tracking white-lipped peccaries and gathering environmental data in forests that link Brazil's Pantanal and Cerrado biomes, researchers discovered ancient cave drawings made by hunter-gatherer societies thousands of years ago.

This is a drawing of a human-like figure and symbols. A team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society and a local partner NGO, Instituto Quinta do Sol, discovered ancient cave drawings made by hunter-gatherer societies thousands of years ago while conducting a survey for white-lipped peccaries in Brazil.
Credit: Alexine Keuroghlian/WCS

While tracking white-lipped peccaries and gathering environmental data in forests that link Brazil's Pantanal and Cerrado biomes, a team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society and a local partner NGO, Instituto Quinta do Sol, discovered ancient cave drawings made by hunter-gatherer societies thousands of years ago.

The drawings are the subject of a recently published study by archeologists Rodrigo Luis Simas de Aguiar and Keny Marques Lima in the journal Revista Clio Arqueolσgica (see link below). The diversity of the renderings, according to the authors, adds significantly to our knowledge of rock art from the Cerrado plateau region that borders the Pantanal.

"Our work with the Wildlife Conservation Society focuses on promoting sustainable land use practices that help protect important wildlife species and the wild places where they live," said Dr. Alexine Keuroghlian, researcher with WCS's Brazil Program. "Since we often work in remote locations, we sometimes make surprising discoveries, in this case, one that appears to be important for our understanding of human cultural history in the region."

The discovery was made on Brazil's Cerrado plateau in 2009, when Keuroghlian and her team were conducting surveys of white-lipped peccaries, herd-forming pig-like animals that travel long distances and are environmental indicators of healthy forests. The peccaries are vulnerable to human activities, such as deforestation and hunting, and are disappearing from large swaths of their former range from southern Mexico to northern Argentina. While following signals from radio-collared white-lipped peccaries and the foraging trails of peccary herds, the team encountered a series of prominent sandstone formations with caves containing drawings of animals and geometric figures.

Keuroghlian contacted Aguiar, a regional specialist in cave drawings who determined that the drawings were made between 4,000-10,000 years ago by hunter-gatherer societies that either occupied the caves, or used them specifically for their artistic activities. The style of some drawings, Aguiar noted, was consistent with what archeologists call the Planalto (central Brazilian plateau) tradition, while others, surprisingly, were more similar to Nordeste (northeastern Brazil) or Agreste (forest to arid-land transition in NE Brazil) style drawings. The drawings depict an assemblage of animals including armadillos, deer, large cats, birds, and reptiles, as well as human-like figures and geometric symbols. Oddly, the subject of the WCS surveys in the area -- peccaries -- are absent from the illustrations. Aguiar hopes to conduct cave floor excavations and geological dating at the sites in order to fully interpret the drawings.

"These discoveries of cave drawings emphasize the importance of protecting the Cerrado and Pantanal ecosystems, both for their cultural and natural heritage," said Dr. Julie Kunen, Director of WCS's Latin America and the Caribbean Program and an expert on Mayan archeology. "We hope to partner with local landowners to protect these cave sites, as well as the forests that surround them, so that the cultural heritage and wildlife depicted in the drawings are preserved for future generations."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "White-lipped peccary trails lead to archeological discovery in Brazil: 4,000- to 10,000-year-old cave drawings." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107162302.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2013, November 7). White-lipped peccary trails lead to archeological discovery in Brazil: 4,000- to 10,000-year-old cave drawings. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107162302.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "White-lipped peccary trails lead to archeological discovery in Brazil: 4,000- to 10,000-year-old cave drawings." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107162302.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) — Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

AFP (July 22, 2014) — As part of the 14-ship convoy that will accompany the Costa Concordia from the port of Giglio to the port of Genoa, there will be a boat carrying experts to look out for dolphins and whales from crossing the path of the Concordia. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) — New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) — A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins