The dates for early art keep getting pushed back.
This time, it's way, way back --- to some 430-540K years ago, when homo erectus was top of the evolutionary ladder and people like us --- homo sapiens --- were maybe 300K years in the future.
Until now, h.erectus was thought to make stone tools, and that was about it.
But researchers found geometric etchings on a clam shell: They're not much to look at, but were, at the time, a wholly new invention in the world: decorative art.
Here's a close up of some; clearly intentional, clearly artificial, and rather delicately done:
Meet the artist: Homo erectus looked like this:
Timeline of all early art finds, including the etched shell:
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