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Brazil Ancient Rock

Researchers studying pigs in Brazil stumble upon ancient rock art that had never been seen before

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While tracking pig-like animals called peccaries in Brazil’s forests, a group of researchers inadvertently stumbled upon an incredible display of ancient rock art that had never been seen before.

The researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) were gathering environmental data for the study of white-lipped peccaries in Brazil’s Cerrado plateau, a vast savannah region, when they found the rare cave drawings that had been made by hunter-gatherer societies between 4,000 and 10,000 years ago.

"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," said WCS researcher Alexine Keuroghlian.

The researchers found a series of sandstone formations with caves containing drawings of human figures, geometric shapes, and animals such as armadillos, birds, and reptiles etched into the stone.

The diversity of the renderings adds significantly to knowledge of rock art from the Cerrado plateau region that borders the Pantanal. While some resemble ancient art from the central Brazilian plateau, others, surprisingly, seem etched in the artistic tradition of northeastern Brazil.

"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."

By April Holloway

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