Washington: Ancient cave drawings, dating back 4,000 to 10,000 years, have been discovered in Brazil by researchers following radio-collared white-lipped peccaries.
The drawings depict an assemblage of animals including armadillos, deer, large cats, birds, and reptiles, as well as human-like figures and geometric symbols.
The diversity of the renderings, according to archaeologists Rodrigo Luis Simas de Aguiar and Keny Marques Lima, added significantly to the knowledge of rock art from the Cerrado plateau region that borders the Pantanal.
"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 Dr Alexine Keuroghlian, researcher with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)`s Brazil Programme.
The discovery was made on Brazil`s Cerrado plateau in 2009, when Keuroghlian and her team were conducting surveys of white-lipped peccaries, herd-forming pig-like animals that travel long distances and are environmental indicators of healthy forests.
While following signals from radio-collared white-lipped peccaries and the foraging trails of peccary herds, the team including a local NGO, Instituto Quinta do Sol, encountered a series of prominent sandstone formations with caves containing drawings of animals and geometric figures.
Keuroghlian contacted Aguiar, a regional specialist in cave drawings who determined that the paintings were made between 4,000-10,000 years ago by hunter-gatherer societies that either occupied the caves, or used them specifically for their artistic activities.
Surprisingly, the subject of the WCS surveys in the area - peccaries - are absent from the illustrations.
Aguiar hopes to conduct cave floor excavations and geological dating at the sites in order to fully interpret the drawings.
The study was published in the journal Revista Clio Arqueologica.