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Do these handprints show humanity's earliest creative instinct?

Debate rages over whether markings can be considered art

Guangzhou University geologist David Zhang with the handprint and footprint "Art Panel" in Quesang, Tibet, made during Earth's last ice age, between 169,000 and 226,000 years ago. (Photos courtesy of David Zhang)

QUESSANG, Tibet -- Until recently, the ancient hand and footprints embedded deep into a boulder high up on the Tibetan Plateau -- their origins unknown but seemingly composed with deliberate intent -- have gone unnoted by academic researchers. 

Local villagers believed them to be made by yetis and -- at times -- even worshipped them as the markings of the gods.

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