Scientists believe they have discovered the oldest works of art known to mankind. Although the six pieces are supposedly of seals, they’ve been described as somewhat of “an academic bombshell”. That’s because they’re 42 000 years old, and are the only known pieces created by Neanderthal man, who preceded homo sapiens, more commonly known as humans.
The paintings were found in the Nerja Caves, 60 kilometres east of Malaga in the southern region of Andalusia, Spain. Spanish scientists then sent organic residue found next to the paintings, used either to make the paintings or illuminate them, to Miami.
There, scientists used a date testing process to age the images at being between 43 500 and 42 300 years old.
The “seals” as they appear on the stalagmite column they’re painted on..
One scientist, Professor Jose Luis Sanchidrian, from the University of Cordoba in Spain, used the term: “an academic bombshell” to describe the discovery.
And Antonio Garrido, who is in charge of preserving the caves, said the paintings could revolutionise our view of Neanderthal man because we often portray him as being far more monkey-like than he may have been.
The Nerja Caves already hold another striking historical record: they’re home to the world’s largest stalagmite, at a height of 32 metres tall.
Five boys who were out exploring discovered the cave system, which consists of a series of giant cavities, in 1959.
And until now, archaeologists thought that the oldest art was created during the Aurignacian period, by homo sapiens.
Those were found in Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave in southern France, and are dated at being 32 000 years old.
The new works of art may look more like fish, but Neanderthals were known to eat seals.
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