Volume 90 Issue 25 | p. 32 | Concentrates
Issue Date: June 18, 2012

Neanderthals May Have Been Cave Artists

Uranium-to-thorium decay method identifies age of calcite deposits on top of Paleolithic cave art in Spain
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Analytical SCENE
Keywords: cave art, Spain, radioisotopes

Scientists spelunking in 11 Spanish caves have used an uncommon radioactive-decay method to date Paleolithic wall art, showing that some of the paintings may have been made by either Neanderthals or the earliest humans in Europe (Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1219957). The dating method uses mass spectrometry to measure trace levels of uranium and thorium found in thin crusts of calcite that build up on the . . .

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