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Cave Art in Spain Was Made by Neanderthals

It was believed that early humans painted the cave art in Europe. Scientists are leaning toward associating this art with Neanderthals. The old theory surmised that humans created cave art soon after they moved into Europe from Africa.

New tests show the paintings are older than first thought. They are now known to go back 41,000 years. This puts them clearly in the era of Neanderthals. Art was not a sudden achievement. It developed slowly over tens of thousands of years.

The age of cave paintings was established by U-series dating. Samples of calcite that directly covered the paintings were taken. Paintings in El Castilo Spain were dated specifically to 40,800 years ago. Art in other Spanish caves were pushed back in time from 17,000 to 35,000 years. At this time humans were new to Europe but Neanderthals had been for there much longer. Early jewelry and use of ochre were part of Neanderthal culture.
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Anthropology