Why are these 32 symbols found in caves all over Europe?

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Written language, the hallmark of human civilization, didn’t just suddenly appear one day. In 2011, Genevieve von Petzinger earned international media attention with her discovery of ancient geometric signs from the Ice Age.

Thousands of years before the first fully developed writing systems, our ancestors scrawled geometric signs across the walls of the caves they sheltered in. Genevieve compiled a database of more than 5,000 geometric shapes, lines, and squiggles from the 146 Ice Age caves in France.

She discovered a repeating pattern of symbols carved on prehistoric cave walls. She has studied and codified these ancient markings in caves across Europe.

In 2011, she presented the uniformity of her findings at the TED talks, suggesting that graphic communication and the ability to preserve and transmit messages beyond a single moment in time, may be older than we think.

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