The Birth of Art

The first anatomically modern people evolved in Africa some 200,000 years ago, but undisputed evidence of modern human behavior—body ornaments, symbols scratched on ocher, more complex tools—does not begin to appear for another 100,000 years. Stenciled handprints, such as ones from El Castillo Cave in Spain, at least 37,000 years old, send a timeless message: Like you, I am human. I am alive. I was here.