Off the South African coast, a tiny cave has been discovered with evidence of paint being mixed. This is believed to be the earliest trace of prehistoric humans producing their own paint with self-made tools.
A red-pigment kind of mixture called ochre was discovered around the cave with several shells and grinders. According to Christopher Henshilwood of the Institute for Human Evolution in Johannesburg, the paint is predicted to be at least 100,000 years old and used by early humans for decoration or skin protection. In 2008, Henshilwood's research team discovered the items buried deep in the sand of the cave - as if the cave dwellers intended for the paint to be stored away for later use.
For the next three years, the team would analyze the remnants of what they found under Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating. From what they understand now, the ochre chips were crushed and combined with charcoal, stone chips, and liquid to produce the final paint.
Although this isn't the first discovery of ochre remains, scientists say this is the first time the entire process was found in one place. Because this demonstrates the ability of prehistoric people to think long-term, the discovery is far more fascinating.