An ancient image of a two-humped camel has been discovered in the Kapova cave in the Southern Ural mountain range. The team which made the discovery has estimated that it was made between 14,500 and 37,700 years ago, a time when there were no camels in the Southern Urals.

The finding proves the teams’ belief that artists, and homosapiens in general, in the Upper Paleolithic could migrate over long distances.

The painting matches the camel painting found in 1980 in the Ignatievskaya cave in Russia.

The prehistoric artist used red ochre shade to paint inside the camel’s shape but used charcoal to partially outline the finished piece in the Kapova cave wall.

This unique discovery was made by Eudald Guillamet, a well-known restorative specialist from Andorra. He was invited by the State Office of Protection of Cultural Heritage of Bashkiria to clean the cave of graffiti, which led to his discovery.

"This painting, cleared on the polychrome panel ‘Horses and Signs,’ which has been well-known since the late 1970s, has no analogues in the art complexes of the caves of France and Spain, but does have some resemblance to the camel painting from the Ignatievskaya cave. Now it will probably become a significant image in the Upper Paleolithic cave bestiary of the Southern Urals," said Vladislav Zhitenev, head of Moscow State University's (MSU) South Ural archeological expedition and leading researcher for the Kapova and Ignatievskaya caves, said in a press release on the MSU website.

The polychrome panel is a site in Utah that contains several prehistoric cave paintings and rock art. Several sections of the panel are decorated with colorful paintings made by cavemen. Because of the number of unique paintings found here, it is used as a template to identify other cave paintings found across the world, and which may not be so well preserved.

The cave also provided the team details about the kind of life early man lived there. The features and arrangement of the images along with the prehistoric remains of human colonies that lived here, show that the societies in the Upper Paleolithic period formed organized sanctuaries underground and originated in the Franco-Cantabrian region.

But, their distance and isolation from the main European population and cave sites with wall paintings led to development of their own traditions which were different from the rest of the population.

The study revealed that the Southern Ural population, during the Ice Age painted not only the images of megafauna horses, bisons, mammoths, and woolly rhinoceroses, which is what you’d expect as they were the indigenous animals there, but also representations of the local fauna found before the Ice Age.

"It is very significant that this camel vividly confirms the theory of the Volga-Caspian direction of the connections among the people who created the sanctuary in the Kapova cave. This direction was earlier grounded in the use of ornaments from fossil shells brought from the Caspian region. Moreover, this direction is very interesting in terms of a possible way that the traditions of creating cave sanctuaries with wall paintings could have been spread, if we consider the Carpathian caves with Ice Age wall paintings," said Zhitenev.

The team also found the shape of another animal, apparently a mammoth when the calcite from the rock was cleaned off. This is the first well-preserved painting of a woolly giant from the Ice Age found in the middle level of the multi-level cave.

The images they found seemed to follow a trend across the various levels of the cave. Every painting was led by images of galloping horses and large geometric shapes, in which the researchers also found representations of several animals. This shows a much more established connection of ideas between various prehistoric artists.

“The similarity in the arrangement of vertical and horizontal figures (or rather, explicit compositions) on panels located on two different floors indicates a profound connection between the ideas expressed by the Paleolithic artists. The upper and middle levels are connected by a thirteen meter high vertical well," Zhitenev added.

Archeologists from Moscow State University are looking to continue researching Paleolithic art in the Kapova and Ignatievskaya caves in December 2017.

In winter, the walls of the underground halls and galleries are much drier than in the summer, which makes it easier to reveal the smallest details of the paintings.