Famous cave paintings in Europe have for a long time marked the human leap into the world of figurative art, a fantastic step for our species. Some of these symbols of our evolutionary achievement have now been cast into doubt, with a new dating technique suggesting these cave paintings existed before humans ever arrived.
Archaeologist Alistair Pike at the University of Bristol came up with the new technique, which involves dating a layer of calcium carbonate that forms over the paintings – obviously the paintings must have come after the naturally occurring mineral layer. His findings show that some of the paintings in Spain go back at least 40,800 years – when modern humans had just arrived in Europe from Africa.
So who then would be responsible for the paintings of hunters and herds, of the paintings around prints of hands, if not humans?
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