We’ve long believed that one of the things that separate us – Homo sapiens – from all other species that have ever existed is our ability to create art. But some artworks that have been found deep in Spanish caves have astonished scientists. And these discoveries mean that we have to think again about our theories of human exceptionalism.
Cave art has been found in many parts of the world, and until recently it has always been assumed that only we humans created it. Perhaps some of the most famous cave art was discovered in the Chauvet Cave in Southern France. And we can be sure that this art was made by Homo sapiens.
We know that it was created by Homo sapiens because these cave paintings at Chauvet have been dated authoritatively to about 30,000 years ago. At that time, the only hominin – or human-like – species on Earth was Homo sapiens. As a result, it must have been them who created these stunning wall paintings.