Sometimes the silhouette of the animal was incised in the rock first, and in some caves all or many of the images are only engraved in this fashion, taking them somewhat out of a strict definition of "cave painting".Similarly, large animals are also the most common subjects in the many small carved and engraved bone or ivory (less often stone) pieces dating from the same periods.

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This was created roughly between 10,000 and 5,500 years ago, and painted in rock shelters under cliffs or shallow caves, in contrast to the recesses of deep caves used in the earlier (and much colder) period.

Though individual figures are less naturalistic, they are grouped in coherent grouped compositions to a much greater degree.

For instance, the reindeer depicted in the Spanish cave of Cueva de las Monedas places the drawings in the last Ice Age.

The oldest date given to an animal cave painting is now a pig that has a minimum age of 35,400 years old at Timpuseng cave in Sulawesi, an Indonesian island.

These are often found in the same caves as other paintings, or may be the only form of painting in a location. Similar hands are also painted in the usual fashion.

A number of hands show a finger wholly or partly missing, for which a number of explanations have been given.

The earliest non-figurative rock art dates back to approximately 40,000 years ago, the date given both to a disk in the El Castillo cave and a hand stencil in Timpuseng cave Sulawesi, Indonesia.

There are similar later paintings in Africa, Australia and South America, continuing until recent times in some places, though there is a worldwide tendency for open air rock art to succeed paintings deep in caves.

But subsequent technology has made it possible to date the paintings by sampling the pigment itself and the torch marks on the walls.