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Clottes concludes that the "dates fall into two groups, one centered around 27,000–26,000 BP and the other around 32,000–30,000 BP." Some archaeologists have questioned these dates.Christian Züchner, relying on stylistic comparisons with similar paintings at other well-dated sites, expressed the opinion that the red paintings are from the Gravettian period (c.Fossilized bones are abundant and include the skulls of cave bears and the horned skull of an ibex.Hundreds of animal paintings have been catalogued, depicting at least 13 different species, including some rarely or never found in other ice age paintings.The cave is situated above the previous course of the Ardèche River before the Pont d'Arc opened up.The gorges of the Ardèche region are the site of numerous caves, many of them having some geological or archaeological importance.
Similarly, a three-dimensional quality and the suggestion of movement are achieved by incising or etching around the outlines of certain figures.Based on radiocarbon dating, the cave appears to have been used by humans during two distinct periods: the Aurignacian and the Gravettian.Most of the artwork dates to the earlier, Aurignacian, era (30,000 to 32,000 years ago).The radiocarbon dates from these samples suggest that there were two periods of creation in Chauvet: 35,000 years ago and 30,000 years ago.A research article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in May 2012 by scientists from the University of Savoy, Aix-Marseille University and the Centre National de Prehistoire confirmed that the paintings were created by people in the Aurignacian era, between 30,000 and 32,000 years ago.
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The cave was first explored by a group of three speleologists: Eliette Brunel-Deschamps, Christian Hillaire, and Jean-Marie Chauvet for whom it was named. In addition to the paintings and other human evidence, they also discovered fossilized remains, prints, and markings from a variety of animals, some of which are now extinct.