Sydney: An Australian researcher has discovered what is believed to be the first artwork created by a human.
The simple zigzag pattern found on a fossilized shell from the Indonesian island of Java has been dated to at least 430,000 years -- 300,000 years older than other markings made by modern humans or Neanderthals, Xinhua cited the journal Nature as reporting Thursday.
Stephen Munro from the Australian National University said the age and location of the shell suggested the pattern was carved by an even earlier human ancestor known as homo erectus.
"It rewrites human history," he said. "I guess this brings them (homo erectus) a little bit closer to us because we can identify with deliberately-made markings."
The landmark find originated in 2007, when Munro took digital photographs of the shells and later, after close examination, discovered one of them had a geometrical pattern engraved on it.
"This type of engraving in the archaeological record doesn't show up anywhere else in the world until about 130,000 years ago," he said.
Munro also said the discovery pointed to the theory that early humans lived by the sea and ate shellfish rather than living on grasslands and hunting game.