The question of which are the oldest of the currently known cave paintings remains undecided, as new displays are discovered. Cave paintings in France have been radiocarbon dated as old as approximately 33,000 BCE (Before Common Era). Paintings discovered in Spain in February, 2012 may be more than 42,000 years old. Cave art in Australia portrays plant life that was known to exist over 40,000 years ago.
The reason for the artwork, of whatever age, is uncertain. There may have been beliefs that portraying animals to be hunted would contribute to the success of the hunt, or the paintings may have recorded successful results of a hunting trip. The artwork may have contained information to help locate prey for future hunters. The art may have had religious significance.