A SINGLE photograph helped an Australian researcher stumble across what’s thought to be the earliest known engraving by a human ancestor.
The simple zigzag pattern, found on a fossilised shell from the Indonesian island of Java, has been dated to at least 430,000 years.
The find, reported in the journal Nature on Thursday, predates by some 300,000 years other markings, made by modern humans or Neanderthals, previously thought the oldest.
Yet the ancient find would have been impossible without the very modern technology of digital photography.
Relevance? This instinct to make our mark, record our observations and feelings about the world around us – and validate our existence – is profoundly deep. And so old.