NEANDERTHALS WERE USING PAINT 250,000 YEARS AGO -- EARLIER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT
Traces of the paint, made from ocher, were dug up in the Netherlands and dated to a quarter of a million years ago.
Scientists are keeping an open mind as to what the sub-species of humans did with it back then although it is often considered a sign of symbolic behavior such as artwork and body painting.
Scientists examined small quantities of red material on well-preserved flint and bones dug up from an archaeological site in Maastricht in the Netherlands, reports the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. State-of-the-art X-ray techniques revealed the presence of an iron oxide called hematite, a metal that was not part of the sedimentary environment and probably entered as drops from an ocher-rich liquid. They believe it was brought to the site from dozens of miles away.