London: Six paintings of seal found on Spain’s Costa del Sol are believed by scientists to be the world’s oldest works of art.
Experts say that the 42,000 year-old paintings are the only known artistic images created by Neanderthal man.
Professor Jose Luis Sanchidrian, from the University of Cordoba, described the discovery as “an academic bombshell”, as all previous artwork has been attributed to Homo sapiens, the Daily Mail reported.
The paintings were found in the Nerja Caves, 35 miles east of Malaga in the southern region of Andalusia.
Spanish scientists sent organic residue found next to the paintings to Miami, where they were dated at being between 43,500 and 42,300 years old.
They hope to establish the exact age by testing parts of the paintings themselves, but their investigation has been hampered by a lack of funds.
Antonio Garrido, in charge of preserving the caves, said the paintings could revolutionise our view of Neanderthal man, who is often portrayed as being monkey-like.