Age cave dating
The uranium-thorium method involves dating tiny carbonate deposits that have built up on top of the cave paintings.
Published today in the journal Science, the study reveals how an international team of scientists used a state-of-the-art technique called uranium-thorium dating to fix the age of the paintings as more than 64,000 years.
There is evidence that Neanderthals in Europe used body ornamentation around 40,000 to 45,000 years ago, but many researchers have suggested this was inspired by modern humans who at the time had just arrived in Europe.
Study co-author Paul Pettitt, of Durham University, commented: “Neanderthals created meaningful symbols in meaningful places.
Denisova Cave, located in the foothills of the Altai mountains, is an extraordinarily important place in the history of human evolution.
For over 300,000 years, this cave was the home to various groups of archaic hominins.