The mystery behind these tiny hand prints discovered in an ancient cave may have finally been solved
Discovered around 14 years ago in southwestern Egypt, the cave Wadi Sura II was considered remarkable for its abundance of wall decorations including human and animal figures which have been dated as far back as 8,000 years ago.
Hidden within the walls of Wadi Sura II, nicknamed "Cave of the Beasts," is a mystery that has puzzled scientists since its initial discovery: 13 of the ancient sketches appear to be of infant hands.
According to National Geographic, this has never before been observed in the Sahara.
One touching scene from the cave even seems to depict a pair of "baby" hands nestled inside the outlines of a larger, adult pair.
Image: Emmanuelle Honoré
But a new study revealed something groundbreaking about the ancient Egyptian cave's famous interior artwork — It likely does not depict human hands at all.
When archaeologist Emmanuelle Honoré saw the cave in person in 2006, she began to doubt the "baby hands" speculation because of the prints' extremely small size and relatively long fingers.
She told news.com.au that when she went back to the site a few years later, she decided to test the hypothesis that they didn't belong to babies, children or even premature infants.
Honoré first analyzed hands from her children and babies in her own family and realized the prints were even smaller than those of her relatives.
So she decided to compare their dimensions with those collected from human babies in France.
Just as she suspected, the data did not match up, and after further investigation, the study concluded that the prints were likely made by a reptile — yes, a lizard has kept scientists stumped for a decade.
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