Chauvet Cave’s ancient art depicts extinct animals.

Google VR Spans Space and Time with Tour of Chauvet Cave in France

Here in Arizona, we take a lot of pride in the petroglyphs that dot our state. They show some information about the lives of the civilizations that came before us. But you have to be somewhat nimble and in some cases, able to climb rocky cliffs, just to get a good look at them firsthand. Now a site called reports that Google can immerse you in some cave paintings that actually look a little more interesting than the ones here in Arizona.

Discovered in 1994, the Chauvet Cave in Southern France is a World Unesco Heritage Site and home to one of the true wonders of the world: A series of prehistoric cave paintings that date as far back as 32,000 years ago. These Paleolithic masterpieces feature stunningly lifelike scenes of animals representing 13 different species, most of them extinct—bison, cave lions, leopards, bears, cave hyenas and wooly rhinoceroses. Wouldn’t that be something to see, and to be able to study at your leisure with no time limit. Google’s immersive VR allows you to take all the time you want.

Thanks to an initiative by Google’s Arts and Culture platform, you can see the paintings as if you were right in front of them. Although the site has given users access to high-resolution images of artworks from major museums since 2011, the Chauvet project is the first time they’ve used virtual or augmented reality technology to enhance the experience. To take the tour, you download an app that connects you to videos and various VR and AR modes. However, you have to use your own VR device.

But if you have had any quality experience with a good VR device, you know how amazing this trip back in time would be. It’s just the first offering of what promises to become the next wave in entertainment/education technology, which is an experience so much better than just looking at photos. If you visit the link below you can view a video that shows you a 360-degree view of the cave, though it lacks the magic of seeing it in VR.

This article comes on the heels of an emotionally charged story about the effects that AI and VR can have on human beings. This Google VR will be nearly as realistic. You might recall it was reported recently in that a Korean woman whose daughter had died consented to a project that after months of AI and VR work, produced an amazing avatar of the little girl. The effect was incredible and draining on all concerned, but the grieving mother found some peace in that VR presentation. Look for Google to expand this project with more places and time travels to visit.