Thousands of dot-like indentations engraved on a group of monoliths may be the world's oldest rock art, and the discovery of other prehistoric artifacts could radically alter theories about early human life, archaeologists said Saturday.
In addition to the engravings, which may be 75,000 years old, stone tools and other evidence suggest Australia was inhabited by humans up to 176,000 years ago, more than double what was previously thought, the scientists said at a news conference.
The team from the Australian Museum and University of Wollongong said their discoveries at a remote site in Australia's tropical northwest challenge widely held theories about the history of human life. The findings at least "double the age which we previously thought p eople had come into Australia. That is enormously significant," said museum archaeologist Richard Fullagar. Until now, scientists theorized that Australia was inhabited only 60,000 years ago by humans who came via Asia. Many scientists theorize that Homo sapiens did not emerge from Africa until about 100,000 years ago. …