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Abstract markings—lines and dots—are found throughout the cave.
There are also two unidentifiable images that have a vaguely butterfly or avian shape to them.
This combination of subjects has led some students of prehistoric art and cultures to believe that there was a ritual, shamanic, or magical aspect to these paintings.
One drawing, later overlaid with a sketch of a deer, is reminiscent of a volcano spewing lava, similar to the regional volcanoes that were active at the time.
The art is also exceptional for its time for including "scenes", e.g., animals interacting with each other; a pair of woolly rhinoceroses, for example, are seen butting horns in an apparent contest for territory or mating rights.
The cave contains some of the oldest known cave paintings, based on radiocarbon dating of "black from drawings, from torch marks and from the floors", according to Jean Clottes.
Their analysis showed that the entrance was sealed by a collapsing cliff some 29,000 years ago.Many of the paintings appear to have been made only after the walls were scraped clear of debris and concretions, leaving a smoother and noticeably lighter area upon which the artists worked.Similarly, a three-dimensional quality and the suggestion of movement are achieved by incising or etching around the outlines of certain figures.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.