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500,000 Year Old Shell Carving Considered Fine Art For Primitive Man

It may just look like some scratches on a sea shell, so what’s the big deal? Apparently this 500,000 year old carving is the result of humans. The scratches form a zigzag pattern, which would have been fairly complicated to create if our ancient ancestors were as shallow minded as we have been raised to believe. This finding, if accurately dated would predate any previously known human art by about 430,000 years. Up until now, the oldest known human art was arguably 70,000 years old. It would be remarkable if it could be proven beyond any doubt that this sea shell is indeed the work of humans, and as old as they claim.

500,000 Year Old Shell Carving Considered Fine Art For Primitive Man

Eugene Dubois

A 500,000 year old shell carving was dug up more than 100 years ago by famed Dutch archaeologist Eugene Dubois. (Image from Wikipedia)

Given the known scope of humanity’s life on Earth, 500 million years would long predate the existence of Homo Sapiens (the kind of human beings that we are today). 500,000 years ago would have been one of our distant ancestors, or possible a different type of humanoid from a different branch of evolution. For one of those distant ancestors to have carved a geometric symbol like the zigzag pattern, they had to either understand the shape, or have a curiosity about it. Whether the symbol itself had any other meaning to its artist would be something of debate for quite a while.

Researchers had never given this level of credit to the cognitive abilities of our ancient ancestors. These primitive humans were known to use basic tools from time to time, but geometry and art were something previously not demonstrated by artifacts discovered in the past.

The sea shell is not a new artifact on its own, it is just the recent recipient of a scientific study. The sea shell in question was originally excavated by dutch archaeologist Eugene Dubois way back in 1891 in Java. It belonged to a trove of artifacts dug up with other humanoid fossils and remains. So while the shell remained in a collection for over a century, the significance would take a long time to appreciate.

The researchers who dated this find have estimated that the age of the relic is somewhere between 430,000 and 540,000 years old. To help fine tune the dating process, researchers are hoping to revisit the original site of its discovery so long ago and examine the site for other clues that may help them bring a closer range of dates to the object.

500 Million Year Old Shell Carving Considered Fine Art For Primitive Man.

About Steven Kenniff

Lives in Phoenix, AZ. Graduated from Arizona State University in 2005. Writes for American Live Wire, GM Roadster and Northstar Media