It is confirmed that some finger-etched murete images have been performed by Neanderthals.

2023/06/21 Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

On the left the circle panel and on the right the wave panel. Ed. Jean Claude Marquet/CC-BY 4.0

In the cave of La Roche-Cotard (Valle del Centro-Loire) the oldest engravings created by the Neanderthals have been dated. In fact, they have confirmed that they are at least 57000 years old and may be 75000.

The authorship of this type of expression, considered artistic or symbolic, has been frequently discussed, as some deny that Neanderthals were capable of doing so. However, the engravings of the La Roche-Cotard cave could not be sapiens, as they did not yet reach the area. Therefore, they were necessarily Neanderthal.

Images are made of fingers and are not figurative, but given their shape, space and position, researchers have come to the conclusion that they are intentionally created. For their study they have developed 3D fingerprint models with photogrammetry and other techniques. For its datation, the sediment that closed the cave was dated by luminescence. They find that the closure happened 57,000 years ago, so humans made the prints before. In addition, the stone tools of the cave interior are musteria, that is, of a Neanderthal culture.

Researchers have confessed that they do not know the meaning of these footprints, in other parts of the world, at the same time of the year, sapiens made similar statements. This shows that the behavior and activities of Neanderthals, such as sapiens, were complex and varied. The research has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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