Rock art, these beautiful cave paintings made by the primitive people of Europe, flourished in this area. It was always thought that it was the creation of Homo sapiens, our direct ancestors. Why? Obviously because we are the smartest, who else could have done them? Neanderthals were never taken into account, but when looking at sapiens’ entry into Europe and Neanderthals getting longer, doubts began to arise. Now, with a new date of 50 paintings in 11 caves, it is obvious that the paintings are most likely of Neanderthal origin, as they come from at least 40 thousand years and are long lasting in the regions and in time. That is the most likely explanation, otherwise it would be necessary to see why Homo sapiens They invented them as soon as they arrived in Europe and did not practice them in other areas where they lived at the time.
In the cave of El Castillo, ancient artists decorated walls with dozens of paintings by human hands. It is believed that they were made by pressing your hand on the stone and then blowing the pigment on it with your mouth and creating a kind of stencil or template. These types of images are quite common motifs in cave images in Spain and France. It was always difficult to determine the age of the cave paintings, in general it fell into an indirect date, that is to use bones or coal found inside the cave, but it could quietly happen that they had nothing to do with the age of the paintings, and clearly that is what happened.
New research published in Science, reports on advances in a new radiation measurement technology called uranium-thorium and they do not directly detect the pigments but the mineral layers (calcite) that form over time with paint. This provides a minimum age as the paintings below can only be older. The team, led by Englishman Alistair Pike from the University of Bristol and Portuguese João Zilhão from the University of Barcelona, along with colleagues from Spain and Portugal, has taken samples from 11 caves in Asturias and Cantabria, in northern Spain. The curious thing was that they turned out to be much older than expected.
They were previously thought to be more recent than rock art found in France, but some paintings in El Castillo are at least 40,800 years old, older than those in Chauvet, France, which are considered to be the oldest in the world. The famous Panel of the Hands, also from El Castillo, full of puffy hands as we mentioned before, would be 37,300 years old and one of Altamira’s paintings, the most famous and beautiful cave, would be 35,600 years old. They are at a minimum age and the paintings last for a while, so it is not something that appears suddenly already Homo sapiens to the area, which would have been a little later, to make up for it. So these hands from El Castillo, were Neanderthals.
Pike, Zilhão and colleagues see that these results are in line with the idea that the level of complexity in art has gradually increased over time. First pictorial art, hands, then animals with pigments in various colors and shades. The Homo sapiens They came to Europe about 41-45 thousand years ago, so if art has gradually evolved, it is clear that it was not they who created them, at least the oldest. It could be that they later met Neanderthals. This would add to the demise that has been going on among stupid Neanderthals in recent years. Until a few decades ago, they were only considered capable of creating coarse stone tools, but various studies have found that great art, sophisticated tools and evidence of symbolic thinking previously traced to sapiensin fact from these same Neanderthals who are now also known to have inherited from us 1 to 4 percent of our genes.