Friday, March 2, 2018

Neanderthals—not modern humans—made the oldest cave paintings

Some of the oldest cave paintings are in Spain, and they have been dated to 64,800 years ago, when the European subcontinent was inhabited exclusively by Neanderthals. This means that Neanderthals, and not just modern humans, were capable of the abstracted thought necessary for making meaningful marks. 

Those marks are reconstructed above. To the right is a complicated shape with branching forms. In the upper left, rows of small dots curve above a ladder-like shape. Are the dots counting or recording some number? Does the ladder-like shape suggest structures, boundaries, enclosures, or categories? No one knows. What those marks might mean is impossible to say. 

Animal outlines appear inside the rectangles, but it's possible they were painted after the the rest of the shapes. 

8 comments:

Pierre Fontaine said...

I know this is silly but it looks to me like a map of a plot of land, some designated for crops (the dots), some for livestock with the heavy lines showing irrigation.

Honestly, the shape on the right side looks like a modern sprinkler assembly used to water plants. Either ancient aliens are responsible for this advanced technology or I'm completely wrong in my interpretation...

David Webb said...

Mmm, I think the complicated shape on the right is actually some sort of flying machine. It looks like a pilot sitting in a chair with a prop' attached to the back.

I could be wrong.

Tarnyloo said...

That thingy on the right, it's one of those swamp boats they have in the Everglades.
Driven by err, some three armed guy with a pointy head?

nance presson said...

It looks like a hand held plow which is powered by a large propeller. It is driven by a three-armed rabbit. Yes, it's somewhat like an air boat.

nance presson said...

It looks like a hand held plow which is powered by a large propeller. It is driven by a three-armed rabbit. Yes, it's somewhat like an air boat.

gream said...

it's one of those swamp boats they have in the Everglades.








Ruby888

Gavin said...

I'm lucky enough to live near some caves with paintings dated 20,000 years old. It's 20,000 years after the last of the Neanderthal's, but it's still fascinating to see these in person. There were at least 7 known types of homo species having lived on this planet. The Neanderthal's are seen like a primitive ancestor today, but we all carry their DNA; there is some evidence that they were more intelligent than modern humans, having larger brains, and they may not have been made extinct by modern humans as is the popular notion.

Roberto Quintana said...

Could this be the beginnings of a new plot-line for a new sci-fi story?
Neanderthals create a civilization where they use propeller-propelled sleds on the melting glaciers to protect their Mammoth-farms from the invading Homo-sapiens from the south?
“Mire and Ice”?
“Neandertopia”?
I think we might be on to something here!
Or maybe it’s not so Sci-fi after all. –RQ;p