Lonely Planet Writer

Indonesian shell engraving could rewrite human history

Mount Bromo, Java, Indonesia.
Mount Bromo, Java, Indonesia. Image by Sara Marlowe / CC BY 2.0

Zig-zag patterns found on a fossilised mussel shell in Java may be the earliest engraving by a human ancestor, according to a new study. The engraving is at least 430,000 years old, meaning it was done by the long-extinct Homo erectus. Australian researchers claim the discovery could confirm theories that Homo erectus had significant manual dexterity and greater cognitive abilities than previously thought. It is not clear, however, whether the pattern was a form of art, or served another purpose. Read more: bbc.co.uk