With a new way to date the rock art, researchers carrying lights and scalpels crawled deep underground into caves all over Spain.The plan was to scrape samples off of the mineral-rich crusts that had hardened on top of the cave paintings.One theory goes that Neanderthals developed their rudimentary culture only after early modern humans arrived in Europe some 40,000 to 50,000 years ago.Today’s findings show the writing on the wall: Neanderthals were clearly painting splotches and tracing their hands on caves long before modern humans showed up.
What it looks at is the ratio of thorium (the progeny) to uranium (the parent).
A new discovery that Neanderthals were painting cave walls more than 64,000 years ago has anthropologists rethinking the history of art.
Found deep in Spanish caves, the rock art was once thought to be the work of modern humans, but the new dates mean that Neanderthals must have figured out fingerpainting, too.
A non-destructive, gamma-spectrometric method for uranium age-dating is presented which is applicable to material of any physical form and geometrical shape.
It relies on measuring the daughter/parent activity ratio 214Bi/234U by low-background, high-resolution gamma-spectrometry using intrinsic efficiency calibration.