Finger painting has long been a favorite pastime for kids and recently a group of archaeologists has discovered exactly how long — 13,000 years! The Daily Mail reported this morning that experts have stumbled upon evidence of cave drawings by children in one of France’s most famous ancient sites – pointing to the possibility that daycare centers date back all the way to prehistoric times.

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Known as The Cave of the Hundred Mammoths, Rouffignac is a five-mile site with no shortage of ancient art, boasting nearly 250 Paleolithic drawings and paintings. Earlier this year, Walden University archeologists Jess Cooney and Leslie Van Gelder developed a technique to estimate the age and sex of the cave artists, and doing so, found works done by children aged 3 to 7 in each room. Their incredible studies surprisingly found the most prolific cave drawer to be a 5 year old girl!

Besides rough animal outlines and shapes, finger paintings (or finger flutings if you want to use professional terminology) were found in every room of the five-mile cave. Simple hand drawn lines are strewn up and down the soft surfaces of the cave and even in high spaces and on the ceiling. These hard to reach marks suggest the children were either held up or rested on an adult’s shoulders while drawing.

One room in particular stood out to the archaeologists, displaying much more finger fluting than any of the other caverns. Experts believe this may have been a play room or other special space for the youngsters to express themselves.

This amazing discovery has encouraged archeologists to revisit many cave drawing sites around the world and sure enough, they have discovered kid cave art in Altamira, Spain, New Guinea and even Australia. It looks like the prehistoric pre-school finger painting classes have certainly left a lasting mark.

via The Daily Mail