Using drone cameras, scientists have documented spectacular line drawings newly discovered in southern Peru. They are likely much older than the famous Nazca lines.

The latest line drawings show geometric figures portraying humans, apes and a whale, according to a report published in National Geographic. 

Twenty-five images of the previously undocumented line drawings — so-called geoglyphs, or "ground drawings" — in Palpa province in southern Peru were taken from drones, said Peruvian archeologist Johny Isla Cuadrado in the Peruvian daily, El Comercio.

Scientists flew the drones over the region about 30 meters above the ground, and spotted 50 geoglyphs — 25 were unknown, while the local population was aware of the other 25 drawings.

Researchers hope that documenting the newly found line art will give them new insight into the area's ancient cultures.

Cuadrado said the massive drawings seem to point at "a tradition of over a thousand years that precedes the famous geoglyphs of the Nazca culture, and which opens the door to new hypotheses about its function and meaning."

More: Truck drives over Peru's Nazca Lines, damaging the UNESCO site 

Archeologists believe the Palpa drawings were created by the Paracas and Topara cultures between 500 BC and 200 AD, which would make them older by many centuries than the famous Nazca lines in the neighboring Nazca Valley.

And unlike the renowned Nazca sketches that were etched into the high desert sand and are only visible from above, the Palpa geoglyphs were found on the slopes of the region's hills, meaning they can also be observed from the ground.

This article originally appeared on DW.com. Its contents were created separately to USA TODAY.