A red hand stencil. A series of lines that look like a ladder. A collection of red dots. These images, painted in ocher on the walls of three separate caves in Spain, are the oldest-known examples of cave art ever found. And new research suggests that all three were created not by humans, but by our ancient cousins the Neanderthals. In a paper published Thursday in Science, an international team of archaeologists shows that each of the three paintings was executed at least 64,000 years ago -- more than 20,000 years before the first modern humans arrived in Europe.
A red hand stencil. A series of lines that look like a ladder. A collection of red dots.
These images, painted in ocher on the walls of three separate caves in Spain, are the oldest-known examples of cave art ever found. And new research suggests that all three were created not by humans, but by our ancient cousins the Neanderthals.
In a paper published Thursday in Science, an international team of archaeologists shows that each of the three paintings was executed at least 64,000 years ago -- more than 20,000 years before the first modern humans arrived in Europe.
"This work confirms that Neanderthals were indeed using cave walls for depicting drawings that had meaning for them," said Marie Soressi, an archaeologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands who was not involved in the study. "It also means that our own group, the one we call anatomically modern humans, is maybe not so special."
For most of the last century, researchers have argued that our Neanderthal cousins were intellectually inferior to their modern human contemporaries -- incapable of symbolic thought and possibly devoid of language. This, in turn, was used to explain why the Neanderthals disappeared from Eurasia about 40,000 years ago, not long after modern humans arrived there.
However, archaeological evidence revealed over the last two decades tells a different story. We now know that Neanderthals were sophisticated hunters who knew how to control fire, and that they adorned themselves with jewelry and took care to bury their dead.
In addition, genetic evidence suggests that modern humans and Neanderthals were similar enough that they interbred with some frequency. Indeed, if you are of European or Asian descent, it is likely that roughly 2% of your genome comes from Neanderthal ancestors.
Still, Soressi said the discovery that at least three instances of known cave art were created by Neanderthals is significant.
"The one criteria left that would have distinguished Neanderthals and early modern humans was the interest and need to draw symbols deep in the underground," she said.
Thanks to the new discovery, she added, we now know that Neanderthals and modern humans had that in common as well.
Huh. That predates the oldest known ---- Sapiens cave art in Spain by 24,000 years.
Let me think about that for a minute. Let's see, I think Neanderthals diverged 650,000 years ago, moved north, and then re-integrated 25,000 years. Is that right?
Also, ---- Sapiens is 400,000 years old.
I think that's right. I'll check.
"Most of the rock art in South Africa was created by ancestral San/Bushmen. The oldest rock engravings in the world are some abstract engravings on a piece of loose ochre that were found in Blombos Cave in the southern Cape and dated to 77,000 years of age."
Neanderthals invented graffiti. We invented stucco.
Go H. Sapiens.
I still wonder how far back boats go. People got to Australia 75,000 years ago. And I'm pretty sure you need basic astronomy and some kind of basic navigation tool to do that.
"Aboriginal rock art has been around for a long period of time, with the oldest examples, in Western Australia's Pilbara region and the Olary district of South Australia, estimated to be up to around 40,000 years old."
"A drawing of the red ladder symbol from the La Pasiega cave. Dating shows it has a minimum age of 64,000 years but it is unclear if the animals and other symbols were painted later."
In Maltravieso cave in western Spain, a hand shape thought to have been created by spraying paint from the mouth over a hand pressed to the cave wall was found to be at least 66,700 years old. At the Ardales cave near Malaga, stalagmites and stalactites that form curtain-like patterns on the walls appear to have been painted red, and have been dated to 65,500 years ago. What the creators sought to express with their efforts is anyone's guess. "We have no idea what any of it means," said Dirk Hoffmann at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.
It is not the only question left unanswered. "It's fascinating to demonstrate that the Neanderthals were the world's first artists, and not our own species," said Paul Pettit, professor of palaeolithic archaeology at Durham University. "The most important question still remains, however. What were Neanderthals doing in the depths of dark and dangerous caves if it wasn't ritual, and what does that imply?"
In a second paper, published in Science Advances, Hoffman and others show that dyed and decorated seashells found in the Aviones sea cave in southeast Spain were made by Neanderthals 115,000 years ago, pointing to a long artistic tradition.
Historically, works of art and symbolic thinking have been held up as proof of the cognitive superiority of modern humans examples of the exceptional skills that define our species. Neanderthals, by comparison, have suffered a bad press since the first skeletons were unearthed in the Neander valley near Düsseldorf in the 19th century. While the German biologist Ernst Haeckel failed to convince his fellow scientists to name the species ---- stupidus, Neanderthals were still described as incapable of moral or theistic conceptions, and depicted as knuckle-dragging apemen.
"To my mind this closes the debate on Neanderthals," said João Zilhão, a researcher on the team at the University of Barcelona. "They are part of our family, they are ancestors, they were not cognitively distinct, or less endowed in terms of smarts. They are just a variant of humankind that as such exists no more."
They are just a variant of humankind that as such exists no more."
Or... they exist but are encapsulated behind some sort of portal force field like Wakanda.
What is really interesting to me is the time frames involved in these caves.
For example the Pech Merle cave. www.google.com
It is like a mile long and humans (probably shamans) from 25,000 years ago made their way deep into the cave in the dark over dangerous ledges and drops to make these paintings which took hours or days and even signed some of their work with hand paintings. And what really strikes me is that they did this for about 10-15 THOUSAND years. Have humans done ANYTHING for 10,000 years? And the art has lasted 25,000 years! What has modern man made that will last 25,000 years? The paintings are beautiful and some are drawn on rocks that already look like a horse and in a flicking flame probably looked 3D. They show an incredible amount of skill and introspection.
Then there is the mystery of the wounded man . The wounded man has 7-8 spears stuck in him with a weird geometrical shape above his head.
"And new research suggests"
There in lies the problem with history. There's a lot of folks out there that think a degree makes them right.
It's not the degree itself, but the training in the business of ferreting out, examination, and evaluation of evidence that helps.
Basically, it's very much a case of "for now," with changes to follow.
Basically, it's very much a case of "for now," with changes to follow.
#13 | POSTED BY DOC_SARVIS AT 2018-02-25 12:28 PM | FLAG:
Of course a degree helps.To a certain degree. 🤓
And "for now" is how scientific theories work. It is very fun to speculate about what the humans were doing and thinking 25,000 years ago when they made these paintings. Having a degree means you have the background and knowledge to at least make a reasonable theory based on reality. 🧐
Yep. I was gonna say there is an exception to every rule but that is not exactly true either.
If all rules have exceptions then even the rule that states that all rules have exceptions must have an exception, or the rule is proven false. But if it does have an exception the rule is also proven false, because then there is a rule without an exception, which is what the rule is saying cannot exist.
In fact, it is a rule that is self annihilating.
He blinded me with Science!
Drudge Retort Headlines
Trump's CIA Pick Did Not Oversee Waterboarding (140 comments)
McCabe Fired to Deny Him Pension (85 comments)
Trump-Supporting Evangelicals Sold Their Souls (32 comments)
Libertarian Senate Candidate Wants to Arm the Homeless (22 comments)
Trump Throws a Morning Tantrum Against Mueller (18 comments)
Green Party in Montana Has Bigot on Ballot (16 comments)
Parkland Survivor: Trump is 'Owned' by the NRA (16 comments)
Tennessee Republicans Won't Denounce Neo-Nazis (14 comments)