Archaeologists have a fascinating and challenging job. Every day they must carefully study artifacts from the past and use their observational skills to create an accurate picture of a forgotten time and place.

But just one new fact or unexplained piece of evidence can shatter their entire narrative. While it’s crucial to our understanding of human history that the true stories are told, sometimes evidence can leave historians so baffled that they simply don’t know what to do with the information they’ve uncovered.

In 2002, a group of amateur explorers stumbled into a desert cave to get a break from the heat. That’s when they discovered a number of hand prints on the wall. At first, they appeared to be human… but they weren’t.

In 2002, amateur explorers accidentally discovered the Wadi Sura II cave in the Egyptian portion of the Libyan desert. They never could have anticipated the strange things that they were about to find once they entered…

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Astoundingly, the cave was a thrilling find for the entire archaeological community and anyone with a general interest in the subject. It turned out that it contained well over 5,000 ancient cave paintings. They assumed no one had ever seen them before.

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The beautiful and primitive murals portrayed amazing scenes of animals in motion and of humans partaking in ritualistic dancing. That was all in line with what researchers expected, but there was one wall inside of the cave that had them stumped.

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The wall that they weren’t immediately able to decipher featured hundreds of what appeared to be human hand prints all over the walls. At least, that’s what the researchers believe that they saw at first, though, even after a closer examination they were still unsure.

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They decided that the best idea would be to take a closer examination. This closer look revealed something shocking and something that they never could have expected: there was no way the smaller set of hand prints were human.

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In a study of the hand prints taken from the wall of the cave, which was published in National Geographic, researchers compared them to those of human infant and adult hands. They initially expected the results to come back as human, though, their expectations were wrong.

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It turns out that the prints found on the walls differed significantly in size, proportions and morphology from human hands, meaning that there’s an extremely low probability they were human. But what could that mean? How did those prints get there?

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Now, researchers feel that they just may have pinpointed the answer to that rather important question. They are beginning to suspect that the prints left on the walls of the cave were actually left behind by reptilian hands…

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While you may immediately begin imagining lizard people roaming the Earth and placing their hands all over everything that they see, don’t jump that far ahead. Unfortunately, as cool as would be were that the truth, these definitely were not made by lizard people. Scientists believe the prints were the work of human artists.

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The researchers and scientists believe that those artists actually used the severed foot of a monitor lizard or a Nile crocodile as a sort of stencil to get the prints all over the walls. It was probably easier than using their own hand.

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As it turns out, the practice of using animal parts as artistic tools has been seen before around the world. This technique was used in this cave in Argentina, but it was the first time the practice had been discovered in that part of the world.

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I guess that explanation makes sense, but using lizard hands as a painting tool still seems pretty weird. Another scientific mystery laid to rest!

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