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Every time, intriguing and occasionally enigmatic glimpses into the lives of prehistoric humans can be found in rock art. What was important enough to them to etch into stone? How do the designs and patterns make sense? Certain objects convey a story more clearly than others, like paintings or etchings of game and hunters. Some might bring up issues with more transient consequences. Prehistoric hands may have been engraved with feelings, magic, and music. At Toro Muerto, a sizable collection of pre-Columbian rock art engravings in the Peruvian desert, human figures are repeatedly shown dancing.

There are innumerable squiggles and zigzags all around them. According to a recent study, these could be petroglyphic depictions of music performed during hallucinogenic religious rituals.

Thousands of petroglyphs that were etched by prehistoric artists into the rock can be found in the Toro Muerto desert. Danzantes, or dancers, are frequently seen. They have hash marks, dots, and lightning-like lines all around them. For a long time, scientists have been curious about what these could be—lightning, water, or something else.

According to the new paper, the lines could actually depict sound and music pulsing through the atmosphere. The Tukano culture's artwork from the Colombian rainforest was likened by the researchers to this. Geometric patterns are believed to symbolise the hallucinogenic state experienced during the ceremonial consumption of ayahuasca in that culture's artwork. 

In this culture, songs served as a means of time travel to the beginning of existence. Spiritual energy could be visually expressed through geometric patterns. The authors state that "we cannot exclude the fact that in this case, too, the construction of this motif may have been a matter of convention, and the representation of an idea known more broadly and earlier," keeping in mind the motif's universality in pre-Columbian American iconography.

To put it briefly, the Peruvian rocks' zigzag patterns could serve as music during hallucinogenic religious rituals. This theory provides an interesting window into the religious and artistic culture of ancient South America, even though it is impossible to know for sure. 

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