Sprawling 8-mile-long ‘canvas’ of ice age beasts discovered hidden in Amazon rainforest


Ice age canvas painted 12,600 years ago discovered hidden in Amazon rainforest

A report detailing the discovery of an 8-mile long mural appears in “Colonisation and early peopling of the Colombian Amazon during the Late Pleistocene and the Early Holocene: New evidence from La Serranía La Lindosa,” available here. According to the paper, indigenous people likely started painting the images at Serranía La Lindosa, on the northern edge of the Colombian Amazon, about 12,600 years before present.

The thousands of paintings include handprints, geometric designs, and a wide array of animals, from the small (deer, tapir, alligators, bats, monkeys, turtles, serpents, porcupines) to the large (camelids, horses, and three-toed hoofed mammals with trunks). Other figures depict humans, hunting scenes, and images of people interacting with plants, trees, and savannah creatures.

According to one of the paper’s authors, at the time the paintings were created, the Amazon was transforming from a patchwork landscape of savannas, thorny scrub, and forests into today’s leafy tropical rainforest. He added that many of South America’s large animals went extinct during this period, likely through a combination of human hunting and climate change.

“These rock paintings are spectacular evidence of how humans reconstructed the land, and how they hunted, farmed, and fished,” study co-researcher José Iriarte, an archaeologist at the University of Exeter, said in the statement. “It is likely art was a powerful part of culture and a way for people to connect socially.” 

A few comments on the report:

  • The transformation of the Amazon from savannah to rain forest is wholly due to the planet-wide climate change induced by the worldwide flood waters.
  • The extinctions were caused by the animals’ changed environments, not human hunting.

The images caused me to wonder: what would inspire ancients to create such an extensive memorialization? So, I contacted the authors of the paper with the following email:

“I came across your paper due to the appearance of findings in recent news reports (e.g. here). 

That you date the images to 12,600 years before present caught my attention. It is consistent with the ubiquitous nano-diamond layer formed by a cosmic impact at the Younger-Dryas boundary (approximately 12,800 years before present). I discuss the matter in my recent paper, The Flooding of the Mediterranean Basin at the Younger-Dryas Boundary, available here.

Your discovery prompts an important question: what would inspire the ancients to memorialize some event in an 8-mile long mural? The answer: survival after the Flood (discussed here).

I hope that you will keep this in mind as you go about deciphering the images. For instance, could the triangular waves represent the Flood’s waters? Could the block-shaped waves represent the ice that accompanied the newly introduced, planet-changing waters?


Michael Jaye, PhD”