For instance, the reindeer depicted in the Spanish cave of Cueva de las Monedas places the drawings in the last Ice Age.
The oldest date given to an animal cave painting is now a pig that has a minimum age of 35,400 years old at Timpuseng cave in Sulawesi, an Indonesian island.
Evidence suggests that they were not merely decorations of living areas since the caves in which they have been found do not have signs of ongoing habitation.
They are also often located in areas of caves that are not easily accessible.
However, more than 80 radiocarbon dates had been obtained by 2011, with samples taken from torch marks and from the paintings themselves, as well as from animal bones and charcoal found on the cave floor.
The radiocarbon dates from these samples show that there were two periods of creation in Chauvet: 35,000 years ago and 30,000 years ago.
The paintings are remarkably similar around the world, with animals being common subjects that give the most impressive images.
The art is similar in style and method to that of the Indonesian caves as there were also hand stencils and disks made by blowing paint onto the walls.
Cave paintings in El Castillo cave were found to date back to at least 37,300 years old by researchers at Bristol University, making them the oldest known cave art in Europe, 5–10,000 years older than previous examples from France.
Previously it was believed that the earliest paintings were in Europe.
The earliest figurative paintings in Europe date back to the Aurignacian period, approximately 30,000 to 32,000 years ago, and are found in the Chauvet Cave in France, and in the Coliboaia Cave in Romania.