A two-metre-long painting of a kangaroo in Western Australia's Kimberley region has been identified as Australia's oldest intact rock painting. Using the radiocarbon dating of 27 mud wasp nests, collected from over and under 16 similar paintings, a University of Melbourne collaboration has put the painting at 17, and 17, years old. The Kimberley-based research is part of Australia's largest rock art dating project, led by Professor Andy Gleadow from the University of Melbourne. Published today in Nature Human Behaviour, Dr Finch and his colleagues detail how rock shelters have preserved the Kimberley galleries of rock paintings, many of them painted over by younger artists, for millennia -- and how they managed to date the kangaroo rock painting as Australia's oldest known in-situ painting. The kangaroo is painted on the sloping ceiling of a rock shelter on the Unghango clan estate in Balanggarra country, above the Drysdale River in the north-eastern Kimberley region of Western Australia.
The following radioactive decay processes have proven particularly useful in radioactive dating for geologic processes:. Note that uranium and uranium give rise to two of the natural radioactive series , but rubidium and potassium do not give rise to series. They each stop with a single daughter product which is stable. Some of the decays which are useful for dating, with their half-lives and decay constants are:.
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