40,000 ya: Löwenmensch

Lion Man white background

Discovered in 1939, the Löwenmensch (“lion-human”) is an ivory figurine carved from a mammoth’s tusk. It is the oldest-known zoomorphic (animal-shaped) sculpture in the world, as well as the oldest-known example of figurative art. Historically, there has been some debate over the gender of the figure, with some noting that the maneless head indicates a female lion and others suggesting that a fragment in the groin area may be a stylized male sex organ.

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