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Chauvet cave paintings are the ‘oldest and most elaborate’ in the world, say scientists

May 8, 2012

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The Chauvet cave paintings, discovered in 1994, exercise such an effect on the imgagination that even the infamously inquisitive and daring filmmaker Werner Herzog shot a documentary on the site called “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” in 3D no less.

Scientists, using radioactive carbon dating and stylistic comparisons with other sites, placed the age of the cave paintings between 10,000 and 40,000 years old. Now, however, the stylistic comparison championed by Christian Züchner that would place the paintings on the earlier side of that spectrum has been positively abandoned.

According to research published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” a US journal, French scientists believe they have confirmed that the paintings are “the oldest and most elaborate ever discovered.” The findings, gathered through geomorphological and chlorine-36 dating of the rockslide formations around the entrance, suggest that the entrance collapsed 29,000 years ago. And the entrance suffered further rockslides up until 21,000 years ago, which scientists believe suggests the Aurignacian culture created the paintings. The Aurignacian culture thrived from roughly 40,000 to 28,000 years ago.

“Remarkably agreeing with the radiocarbon dates of the human and animal occupancy, this study confirms that the Chauvet cave paintings are the oldest and the most elaborate ever discovered, challenging our current knowledge of human cognitive evolution,” said the study.

How daring these scientists are to add even more evidence to the case that the world is older than 5,000 years old and that men didn’t walk side-by-side with dinosaurs. It’s heretical!

No, it’s science. Deal with it.

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