The urge of artistic expression was inherent in hominins that fashioned the earliest tools. They began inscribing as soon as they had the means.
The known record of hominid artistic expression starts with carved elephant bones by Homo erectus in the Lower Paleolithic (the Old Stone Age). The Middle Paleolithic presents bracelets, beads, rock art, and ochre pigment for body paint. By the New Stone Age (Upper Paleolithic), representational art abounds, sculpturally and illustratively. Figurines and imagery ubiquitously represent natural forms. While simple symbols are frequently apparent, elaborated abstractions in art arose much later, during the Mesolithic.