Oldest Cave Paintings–Who Drew Them?

Cave paintings in Spanish caves were dated using mineral deposits on cave surfaces and were found to be at least 41,000 years old, and may be older. French cave paintings, previously thought to be the oldest, are at least 10,000 years younger than these cave paintings. This discovery changes the timeline of human art development, at the very least. It’s possible that ancient Homo sapiens arrived in Europe already possessing a talent for artistic expression. Alternatively, humans could have developed the skill very very rapidly upon arrival in Europe, perhaps driven by specific conditions, such as competition with Neanderthals. Another, more radical, hypothesis is that Neanderthals are actually the ones who drew the paintings, not Homo sapiens. None of these hypotheses are validated, so they remain just that (hypotheses) until more evidence is found.

Wired covered the story, as did Science Now if you want more details.


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