First Evidence of Neanderthal Art?

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September 04, 2014

Neanderthals were capable of abstract expression, according  to a paper published this week by European archeologists in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).

Broadly dated to between thirty thousand and thirty nine thousand years ago, cross hatched lines were found incised in cave bedrock and lying below (and are therefore older) a level in which were found stone tools indisputably attributed to Neanderthals. The cave is known as Gorham’s Cave on Gibraltar.

The dating is very close to when it it is now thought Homo neanderthalensis became extinct (see  Earlier Dates for Neanderthal Extinction on this website published in the past ten days. These dates, late in the Neanderthal career, are earlier - by about ten thousand years - than when members of our species, Homo sapiens, were known to have reached Gibraltar. Read the full story.

See NBC News online for a remarkably sharp image of the lines.