New Study Finds That Art in the Patagonia Cave is More Than 8,000 Years Old

For a long time, scientists believed that more than 900 rock paintings discovered in one of the caves in Patagonia, Argentina, were no older than a few thousand years. However, a recent study published in Science Advances journal indicates that they could be much older than that.

According to the study, the earliest paintings on the walls of a cave, known as Cueva Huenul 1, consisting of a comb-like pattern, were made some 8,200 years ago. The archeologists behind the study also discovered that the same pattern repeated itself for thousands of years.

The discovery sheds a new light on a region that is considered among the last places on Earth to be inhabited by humans. Experts assume that the first humans came here some 12,000 years ago before a shifting climate made the area dry and extremely hot 2,000 years later. It was believed that this harsh period lasted for several thousands of years, during which humans continued to draw the comb-like pattern.

“As interesting as the ages are, for us it’s more significant that they span, more or less, 3,000 years of painting basically the same motif during all this time,” the study’s co-author Ramiro Barberena told The New York Times.

The true meaning of the comb-like painting remains unknown, but the experts suggest it might be a way that the generations of humans communicated and shared cultural knowledge.

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