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Illustration by Mauricio Antón for the permanent exhibition of the Altamira National Museum and Research Center. Two Homo sapiens are depicted, wearing clothes and personal adornments, in a landscape that features woodland and meadows, similar to the landscape of today. Around 40,000 BCE, the first anatomically modern humans arrived in the Iberian Peninsula. Slender and with a large cranial capacity, they had complex social lives and articulate speech, buried their dead and expressed themselves artistically, as well as through furnishings and cave paintings. Sites that they inhabited have been found in caves and shelters as well as out in the open.

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