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Carbon dating cave paintings

Modern humans are not the only species to have produced art, according to a new study that has been described as a “major breakthrough” in our understanding of human evolutionary history.

Researchers have identified the world’s oldest known cave paintings, revealing that they were created by Neanderthals, not modern humans.

This is the first evidence that Neanderthals created cave paintings." data-reactid="15", that these paintings must have been produced by Neanderthals–the only archaic species of humans present on the continent at the time.

This is the first evidence that Neanderthals created cave paintings.

Panel 3 in Maltravieso Cave showing 3 hand stencils (center right, center top and top left).

One has been dated to at least 66,000 years ago and must have been made by a Neanderthal (color enhanced).

Significantly, the artworks suggest that Neanderthals were more sophisticated—and thought more like modern humans—than researchers previously believed.

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The issue of just how human-like Neanderthals were has long been a topic of heated discussion among experts.Read more: Our ancient Neanderthal relatives went extinct much later than we thought" data-reactid="29"“Early views of Neanderthals painted them as brutish and uncultured, being incapable of symbolic behavior, and this view has been very slow to change,” Alistair Pike, Professor of Archaeological Science at the University of Southampton, told .Symbolic behavior—or symbolic culture—is the ability to learn and transmit behavioral traditions from one generation to the next through the creation of things that have no practical function, such as art.This ability was widely thought to have been unique to Homo sapiens, according to the researchers, but the new evidence challenges this view.Don't miss: Mogadishu Attack: Al-Shabaab Militants Attack Government Buildings in Somalia's Capital, Killing Civilians" data-reactid="32"Don't miss: Mogadishu Attack: Al-Shabaab Militants Attack Government Buildings in Somalia's Capital, Killing Civilians The team determined the age of the cave paintings using a state-of-the-art technique known as uranium-thorium dating, which can provide much more reliable estimates than traditional carbon dating methods.According to Pike, the cave paintings in question—located at La Pasiega (northeastern Spain), Maltravieso (western Spain) and Ardales (southwestern Spain)—were generally thought to have been produced by modern humans between 14,000 and 27,000 years ago.But the new findings suggest that these paintings are much older and are, in fact, the world’s oldest by some distance.“The previous oldest-known painting was from El Castillo cave, very close to La Pasiega; that one is more than 41,000 years old,” Pike said.The Neanderthal cave art includes dots, animals and geometric signs made using red ochre or black paint.In addition, the caves also contain hand stencils, prints and engravings.The complexity behind these symbols and the way they were produced suggests that Neanderthals had a symbolic culture, he said.Most popular: Ivanka Trump Briefed South Korea President On North Korea Sanctions Despite Reportedly Lacking Permanent Security Clearance" data-reactid="52"“We cannot know what the paintings mean, but we do know they are meaningful,” said Pike. ”Newsweek that the new findings show Neanderthals developed symbolic culture without taking inspiration from modern humans.

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