Paleolithic hand stencils point to women artists

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Women were the first painters, suggests Dean R. Snow, professor of archaeological anthropology at Penn State.

When Snow examined handprints in cave paintings tens of thousands of years old, he found that three-quarters belonged to females. (It’s the ring finger that reveals your gender: A woman’s ring and index fingers tend to be about the same length; a man’s ring finger is likely to be longer than his index finger.)

“In most hunter-gatherer societies, it’s men that do the killing. But it’s often the women who haul the meat back to camp, and women are as concerned with the productivity of the hunt as the men are,” Snow tells National Geographic. “It wasn’t just a bunch of guys out there chasing bison around.”

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