The Fortean Times breaking news page continues to be a source of excellent reading. A browse of the latest news brought me to a fascinating article from Phys Org regarding the Chauvet cave paintings
In 1999 the oldest oldest footprints of modern-day man were discovered in the Chauvet cave discovered in 1999. Since then experts have debated whether the sophisticated animal drawings in the cave are indeed the oldest of their kind in the world. A study publisehd on Monday suggests that they are (“Further constraints on the Chauvet cave artwork elaboration,” by Benjamin Sadier et al. PNAS 2012)
The curves and fine details in the paintings of bears, rhinoceroses and horses in the Chauvet are so advanced that some scholars thought they dated from 12,000 to 17,000 years ago. According to Phys Org this would place them as relics of the Magdalenian culture.
However, scientists have previously shown through radiocarbon dating evidence of rock art, charcoal and animal bones in the Chauvet cave that the drawings are likely to be between 30,000-32,000 years old.
According to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a US journal, French scientists believe they have confirmation that the paintings are "the oldest and most elaborate ever discovered."
Their findings are based on an analysis -- called geomorphological and chlorine-36 dating -- of the rockslide surfaces around what is believed to be the cave's only entrance. The research shows that an overhanging cliff began collapsing 29,000 years ago and did so repeatedly over time, definitively sealing the entrance to humans around 21,000 years ago.
That would mean the drawings had to have been done before that, bolstering the notion that they were created by people in the Aurignacian culture, which lived 28,000 to 40,000 years ago.
"By proving that this cave was closed for good 21,500 years ago, we completely eradicate the hypothesis of a more recent painting of the cave, and we also confirm the age of the cave which was already known through radiocarbon dating," said lead author Benjamin Sadler.
Well there you have it. I welcome all research which proves that our ancestors were more sophisticated than some would have us believe. Still there are a few imbeciles who believe in Extra Terrestrial intervention etc in our technological development.