The oldest rock carvings found on the Tibetan plateau
An international group of researchers announced the discovery of the oldest specimen of human rock art. The find was made on the Tibetan plateau, reports The Conversation.
The patterns are prints of children's hands and feet. Their age was dated from about 169,000-226,000 BC.
Scientists noted that this is the earliest evidence of the residence of humans and other members of the genus Homo (hominids) on the high Tibetan plateau. The find also confirms the theory that the very first cave paintings were made by children, and only later were they mastered by adults.
Handprints are one of the most common forms of ancient visual art. As a rule, the palms were covered with coloring pigment. Such specimens have been preserved, in particular, in the caves of Sulawesi (Indonesia) and El Castillo (Spain).
The peculiarity of the patterns on the Tibetan plateau is that they were left not in a cave, but on the surface of travertine near a hot spring. Travertine is a calcareous tuff that was formed from sediment from geothermal waters. Scientists noted that it was initially soft and only then hardened.
Five handprints and five footprints were carefully applied, judging by their size, by two children. Scientists concluded that they were not left by accident, but intentionally.
The oldest child could be about 12 years old, the youngest about seven. It remained unknown what species they belonged to. They could be the ancestors of Homo sapiens or belong to the branches of the Neanderthals or Denisovans.
The study showed that the traces were left during the Middle Pleistocene, when the Ice Age reigned on Earth. A group of unknown hominids lived at an altitude of 4200 meters above sea level, in a region where it was cold even during the interglacial era. Scientists also failed to explain this fact.
Earlier in the Netherlands, the figure of a smiling Neanderthal was created. The basis was a piece of skull 50-70 thousand years old.