Ancient Hand Prints of Children Said to Be The Earliest Prehistoric Art in The World

Fossilized footprints, and a lot more not often, hand prints, can be located all-around the environment still left as folks went about their each day business, preserved by freak acts of geological preservation. In new study our international group have identified historical hand and footprints substantial on the Tibetan plateau designed by small children.


The staff argues that these traces stand for the earliest illustration of parietal artwork. Parietal art is paintings, drawings, and engravings on rock surfaces – the type of matter you would obtain in a cave, while the Tibetan traces are not in a cave.

The limestone on which the traces ended up imprinted dates to amongst all-around 169,000 and 226,000 BC. This would make the web-site the earliest at the moment recognized case in point of this form of art in the world.

It would deliver the earliest evidence for human beings and other associates of the Homo genus (hominins) on the high Tibetan plateau. This discovery also adds to the research that identifies little ones as some of the earliest artists.

Hand shapes are commonly identified in prehistoric caves. Ordinarily the hand is made use of as a stencil, with pigment spread all around the edge of the hand. The caves at Sulawesi, Indonesia or at El Castillo in Spain have some wonderful illustrations and are the oldest regarded to day.

At Quesang, higher on the Tibetan plateau, our group led by David Zhang from Guangzhou University observed hand and footprints preserved in travertine from a incredibly hot spring. Travertine is freshwater limestone, usually applied as lavatory tiles, and in this scenario deposited from very hot waters fed by geothermal heat.


The limescale that accumulates in your kettle provides an analogy for this. When soft, the travertine will take an perception, but then hardens to rock.

Five hand prints and 5 footprints surface to have been thoroughly placed, likely by two young children judging by the dimensions of the traces. The prints were being not remaining during standard strolling and seem to have been intentionally positioned.

The kid earning the footprints was most likely close to seven years old and the other, who manufactured the hand prints, a little older, at 12 years of age. The age estimates are primarily based on the dimensions of the traces with reference to modern day development curves this sort of as these created by the Environment Health Organization.

Were the young children casually playing in the mud though other associates of the group took the waters at the warm spring? We do not know, but the crew argues that what they left is a work of art, or prehistoric graffiti if you want.

A 3D-reduction design of the Quesang fossil hand and footprints. (Zhang et al., Science Bulletin, 2021)

The team dated the travertine working with a radiometric method dependent on the decay of uranium identified in the limestone. The age is shocking, with the deposit relationship to concerning close to 169,000 and 226,000 several years ago.

This goes again to the center Pleistocene (mid-Ice Age) and gives proof for the earliest people (or their immediate ancestors) profession on the Tibetan plateau.


This is really extraordinary when you feel of the significant altitude included Quesang has an elevation of around 4,200 meters and would have been cold even throughout an interglacial period. The age also would make this the oldest instance of parietal art in the environment.

Have been the children users of our very own species, Homo sapiens, or customers of yet another extinct archaic human species? There is nothing at all in the tracks to take care of this query.

They may possibly have been an enigmatic team of archaic individuals referred to as the Denisovans, given other latest skeletal finds of this species on the plateau.

Should we look at this panel of prints as art? Well, that relies upon on one’s definition, but the marks were being deliberately built, and have a apparent composition. Whatever these humble traces represent, they obviously evoke photos of little ones at significant elevations, enjoying a spot of inventive enjoy.The Conversation

Matthew Robert Bennett, Professor of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Bournemouth College and Sally Christine Reynolds, Principal Academic in Hominin Palaeoecology, Bournemouth University.

This short article is republished from The Dialogue less than a Imaginative Commons license. Read the original short article.


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