An interesting article by an anthropologist by name of Collin Cleary, The Stones Cry Out: Cave Art & the Origin of the Human Spirit. Mostly about the sudden emergence of an artistic ability in Europe 30,000 to 40,000 years ago. This was an ability found nowhere else on the planet at the time.
In truth, we are not just talking about the origins of representational art. During the same period, in Europe, we find stone tools that are not only far more advanced in their utility and functionality than what we find in earlier periods, they are also aesthetically more advanced, some decorated with elaborate and beautiful carvings. We also find elaborate burials. In one case, found at Sungir in Russia and dated to 32,000 years ago, two adolescents, a boy and girl, were found buried with strands made up of thousands of beads, a belt decorated with canine teeth from polar foxes (63 of which would have been required to supply all the teeth), an ivory statuette of a mammoth, an ivory lance carved out of a mammoth tusk, and other items.
This find is suggestive for several reasons. As others have pointed out, it may very well show the emergence of belief in an afterlife. Thus, such graves may be indications of the coming of religion.