The Serranía la Lindosa sits deep in the Colombian jungle in a frontier area that divides the basins of the Orinoco and Amazon rivers. The rocky tabletop outcroppings that characterize it, recognized as tepuis, sit overtop the Guayabero River, which floods the lowland forests for months out of every single calendar year.

But though the surroundings could feel otherworldly, the rocks them selves are included in Indigenous art depicting people and wildlife. “It’s an wonderful landscape — we like to simply call it, ‘Rock art with a perspective,’” claims Jose Iriarte, an archaeologist with the University of Exeter in the U.K.

Iriarte led new investigation published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Modern society B, which argues some of the art depicts Ice Age megafauna. He implies the creatures include things like giant sloths and species of elephants and horses native to South The united states that went extinct a millennia in the past.

If this is true, these paintings would date back again as early as some of the very first regarded people today to colonize this aspect of what is these days the Colombian Amazon, some 12,600 years in the past. “La Lindosa early rock artwork possibly played a part in identification development and territoriality of the colonizing foragers of the northern Amazon,” the authors conclude in the review. The issues is, not all scientists concur.

Outstanding Paintings, Obscure Discovery

The most important discussion is whether or not the paintings at La Lindosa depict prolonged-extinct megafauna. But this isn’t the only controversy encompassing the rock artwork. In 2021, Iriarte and his colleagues published a examine in Quaternary Worldwide courting the colonization of early readers to the place around the rock websites. Many news outlets misreported the authors of the examine as getting initial found out the rock art at La Lindosa in the latest yrs, when Indigenous persons even now lived in the spot.

Even other experts reported the presence of the rock artwork more than a century ago. Agustin Codazzi, a geographer and explorer whose name now graces Colombia’s national cartography institute, stated the rock artwork while creating maps of the region in the mid-19th century. But in accordance to Fernando Urbina, a professor of the Nationwide University of Colombia who was not associated in Iriarte’s latest analyze, Codazzi attributed it to the do the job of Spanish invaders in the 16th century.

“This is fully incorrect, of program,” Urbina states.

Other experts also made take note of the rock artwork, such as Richard Evans Schultes, a biologist who wrote the reserve on ethnobotany after spending many years dwelling between Indigenous men and women in the Amazon. Schultes frequented the spot in 1943, Urbina says, and scientists photographed some of the cave artwork about four many years later.

The Discussion Between Aged or Ancient

Iriarte and his staff frequented the region in recent decades, researching both equally the cave art and archaeological stays buried at the base of them. In the most the latest analyze, the staff writes that several depictions on the rock artwork of La Lindosa could portray lengthy-extinct Ice Age megafauna. These creatures include a giant sloth, mastodon, and an extinct genus of South American horses and camelid-looking creatures. They all unroll in a marveling screen of art that also demonstrates individuals, summary styles and handprints.

Considering that most of these creatures have been extinct for millennia, Iriarte and his team believe that that at the very least some of the artwork dates to roughly 12,600 years in the past, when these big animals nevertheless walked the Earth.

“We have extremely most likely 13,000 years of paintings in these walls,” Iriarte suggests.

When Urbina retains Iriarte and his staff in superior regard, he contests the ages of these depictions. He suggests they had been probable manufactured immediately after the arrival of the Spanish invaders in the location in the 16th century.

For starters, he thinks the horse-like determine most likely depicts a European steed. Cows and a bull appear to be to encompass the horse depiction, he states — a further animal that only arrived with the Europeans. 1 horse even seems to have something like a collar all over the neck.

Iriarte counters that the heavy head of the horse does not sq. up with the impression of domestic steeds. “It’s pretty various from the slender Arabian horse that Europeans introduced to the area,” he claims.

In the meantime, Urbina says the camelid figures could be llamas somewhat than an extinct species of palaeolama as Iriarte’s group hypothesizes. These South American camelids are not generally identified in the Amazonian area of South America, Urbina suggests. But the men and women residing about La Lindosa could have been common with them due to the fact of make contact with with Andean persons via trade and vacation.

The mastodon figures also could be elephants that Indigenous people today uncovered of from European educational facilities previously in area in the 16th century. As for the large sloth, he believes it could depict a capybara — a big rodent even now identified broadly in South America today.

Even so, to Iriarte, the contested sloth creature has large paws, one of a kind claws and a human body situation extra constant with a sloth. “There are paintings of capybaras in La Lindosa, and they seem entirely distinct from this one,” Iriarte claims.

Eventually, Urbina states that several visuals surface to symbolize canines the invading Spanish army made use of “to produce terror” between the Indigenous people today. The way they are proven jumping at human figures would seem like an inventive portrayal of the terror Indigenous men and women felt for these canine. “These war pet dogs were people that were being highlighted in the figures at La Lindosa,” Urbina suggests.

Urbina doesn’t wholly contest the idea that some of the rock artwork dates back again extra than 10,000 years — he also believes that the portray went on for millennia. He just does not think this sequence of paintings are that aged.

It is challenging to say one way or an additional, considering that researchers haven’t applied radiocarbon evaluation or other techniques to date any of the rock artwo
rk. Some archaeologists have created
new techniques for courting rock art in other pieces of the earth that scientists could implement below in the upcoming, settling the collegial debate in excess of the age of some of these depictions.

Iriarte suggests that some of the other archaeological do the job at La Lindosa has already uncovered traces of the pink ochre applied in the painting of the wall in substantially more mature deposits, but work on this is ongoing and not but printed.

What these excavations haven’t however discovered are the bones of big animals in marriage to the humans that lived there. “If they were portray the megafauna, they weren’t eating it,” he suggests — or at minimum they weren’t eating it at this web page.