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Is This the Earliest of Human Paintings on Earth?

Scientists believe these paintings to be seals and have dated them to be around 43,500 years old. (Photo: Cueva de Nerja)

The paintings once thought to be the oldest created by humans on Earth, dated at 32,000-years-old, are really quite green compared those found in the Cave of Nerja in Spain, which are more than 10,000 years older according to new tests.

Gizmodo reports that radiocarbon dating tests of the image found in Cave of Nerja near Málaga places the art around 43,500 years old. For scientists, this discovery means that the painting was created by Homo neanderthalensis, not Homo sapiens:

"The charcoals were next to the seals, which doesn't have any parallelism in paleolithic art" said [José Luis Sanchidrián, professor at the University of Córdoba], "and we knew that neanderthals ate seals." And there is no proof of homo sapiens in this part of the Iberian Peninsula.

Researchers think that this cave was one of the last points in Europe in which neanderthals — who lived from 120,000 to 35,000 years ago — sought refuge, escaping the push of the Cro-Magnon, the first earliest homo sapiens to reach Europe.

Marbella News states that the dating was conducted as part of a project studying the extinction of the Neanderthals and researching the potential for Homo sapiens to have lived alongside Neanderthals in the cave.

Previously, the oldest human paintings were in Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave, according to Gizmodo.

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