Dean Snow, emeritus professor of anthropology at Penn State University, published an analysis of hand print art in the caves of Spain and France in the Oct. 15, 2013, edition of the journal American Antiquity that indicates the majority of the Upper Paleolithic hand print art was created by women.
Women created about 75 percent of the paint blown around the hand stencil art and paint-dipped hand prints found in the majority of Upper Paleolithic caves. Men and adolescent males created the remaining 25 percent of the hand print artifacts.
Snow compared modern male and female hand size to the ancient hand prints, compared the ratios of the index finger to the ring finger and the index finger to the pinkie to determine male and female adolescent participation in hand print art, and compared photographs and measurements of cave hand prints to produce an algorithm that accurately predicted the sex of the people that created the cave art.
Snow found that a comparison of ancient hands with the hands of American Indians indicates a need for separate analysis and algorithms for separate population hand analysis.
One could conjecture that the predominance of women’s hand prints in ancient art may indicate a relationship with children. The hand prints may indicate the birth of a child or a marriage. The hand prints could possibly indicate that women were more active in the documentation of early human family history or the worship of whatever deity the early cave dwellers created.