After the child's visit to the cave, evidence suggests that due to a landslide which covered its historical entrance, the cave had been untouched until it was discovered in 1994.
The footprints may be the oldest human footprints that can be dated accurately.
Further study by French archaeologist Jean Clottes has revealed much about the site.
The dates have been a matter of dispute but a study published in 2012 supports placing the art in the Aurignacian period, approximately 32,000–30,000 years BP.
Chauvet (1996) has a detailed account of the discovery.
In addition to the paintings and other human evidence, they also discovered fossilized remains, prints, and markings from a variety of animals, some of which are now extinct.
The World Heritage site of Chauvet Cave in southern France is famous—and a source of both wonder and controversy—for having the world’s oldest cave paintings.
When the cave was discovered in 1994, many scholars initially assumed that they must have been made around the same time as those at Lascaux, around 21,000 years ago.Most of the artwork dates to the earlier, Aurignacian, era (30,000 to 32,000 years ago).The later Gravettian occupation, which occurred 25,000 to 27,000 years ago, left little but a child's footprints, the charred remains of ancient hearths, and carbon smoke stains from torches that lit the caves.The soft, clay-like floor of the cave retains the paw prints of cave bears along with large, rounded depressions that are believed to be the "nests" where the bears slept.Fossilized bones are abundant and include the skulls of cave bears and the horned skull of an ibex.horses, cattle, mammoths, etc., the walls of the Chauvet Cave feature many predatory animals, e.g., cave lions, panthers, bears, and cave hyenas. Typical of most cave art, there are no paintings of complete human figures, although there is one partial "Venus" figure composed of a vulva attached to an incomplete pair of legs.