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Researchers Say Neanderthals Created Cave Art 91

Posted by samzenpus
from the scribble-of-the-ages dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news of a study that suggests an engraving in Gorham's Cave in Gibraltar was made by Neanderthals more than 39,000 years ago. Belying their reputation as the dumb cousins of early modern humans, Neanderthals created cave art, an activity regarded as a major cognitive step in the evolution of humankind, scientists reported on Monday in a paper describing the first discovery of artwork by this extinct species. The discovery is "a major contribution to the redefinition of our perception of Neanderthal culture," said prehistorian William Rendu of the French National Centre for Scientific Research, who was not involved in the work. "It is a new and even stronger evidence of the Neanderthal capacity for developing complex symbolic thought" and "abstract expression," abilities long believed exclusive to early modern humans.
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Researchers Say Neanderthals Created Cave Art

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  • by FudRucker (866063) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @04:22AM (#47805161)
    its obvious they were playing tic-tac-toe
    • by fisted (2295862)
      board.
    • by jandersen (462034)

      What nonsense is this? This is clearly part of a hash-tag: '# ...'

    • by Rashdot (845549)

      Tic-tac-toe can be played without a board.

    • its obvious they were playing tic-tac-toe

      Or this was the first attempt at Twitter -- but the format of only 1 character proved overly restrictive, even for teenage Neanderthals with limited communication skills. This poor sap only managed to get the hashtag marker down (#). It only took a few tens of thousands of years to try again with 140 characters -- and now we can communicate with fragmentary badly-formulated thoughts like Neanderthals again.

      [/sarcasm]

      In all seriousness, what's with calling this "art"? I get how early cave drawings of

  • I wonder how look it took before the first art critic came into existence.
  • We know that african elephants are capable of painting beuatifull pictures, so it is quite easy to imagine Neanderthals doing that and much more then that. It seems, that intelligence is not "so special" as we tought. We probably slaughtered Neanderthals, otherwise we could have 2 intelligent species already (and probably many more to come in the coming millions of years).
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No. Those elephants are tortured to submission to be controlled by their handler to paint the same paintings over and over again for the amusement of tourists.

      http://www.snopes.com/photos/animals/elephantpainting.asp

    • Reposting AC's comment [slashdot.org] (as it's slightly more useful to do so than just reply with "mod parent up"):

      No. Those elephants are tortured to submission to be controlled by their handler to paint the same paintings over and over again for the amusement of tourists.

      http://www.snopes.com/photos/a... [snopes.com]

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Slaughter them? Why? They would have made great slaves.

      Humanity is built on slavery, all of the "wonders of the world" were built with slaves.

      The United states was built with slaves.

      And if you actually look at society today, slavery is still rampant just in different forms and disguise.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Monkeys/primates don't look that much like us, and they act very similar. Their intelligence is said to be that of a human child. Nearnderthals looked nearly identical to humans...I'd imagine their brains are just as nearly identical. You'd probably have to have a pretty long conversation with them to suss out any REAL differences in intelligence if there even are any. Likely most of the difference would be cultural, including any clinging to superstition, rather than intellectual.
    The idea that neanderthals

  • 40 kya is pretty old, even as far as cave art is considered. But Neanderthals certainly didn't pain Lascaux - too recent for that.
  • the grid patterns are a way of doing maths

  • They survived in a hostile ice age climate for eons before we turned up. You don't manage that unless you A) Have a heavily adapted physiology (eg mammoth) or B) Are damn smart.

    Anyway, the fact that apparently we interbred with neanderthals and the DNA got passed on - ie the offspring weren't sterile - means they were almost certainly the same species as us - probably just a different race. And we know how well races meeting can turn out.. If anyone wants to know why the died out , well maybe thats a clue.

    • by dryeo (100693)

      We don't know how fertile the offspring were. There are species where if species X is male and species Y is female the offspring are fertile but not the other way around. There are also hybrids where only occasionally the offspring are also fertile such as mules where there are only a couple of recorded pregnancies.
      Species is more a spectrum thing then binary and Neanderthals are different enough to be considered at least a different subspecies if not a different species.

  • The lesson from the recent bout of frantic backpedaling on Neanderthals is not to take the slightest bit of notice of the extrapolations of archaeologists. The raw data of their findings is interesting, but it's always open to interpretation. However, archaeology as a science seem to be largely incapable of objective interpretation. Maybe it's time they stuck to digging things up and stopped trying to interpret what they find. That interpretation really requires quite a different discipline.

    • by unrtst (777550)

      Agreed. I have no idea why they think this is even art, and the article shows no justification for it.
      It's some gouges carved into rock on a shelf-ish thing (just a flat area where some tools were found). They say it would have taken at least 54 strokes with their tools to create one line, and there's only a handful of lines, and they say this was not where they cut animal hides. From that, they say it must have been art.
      I'm not archaeologist, but my first guess would be that someone was bored, and I think

      • by careysub (976506)

        ... From that, they say it must have been art. I'm not archaeologist, but my first guess would be that someone was bored, and I think that's a MUCH more likely explanation...

        You don't think your doodling during lecture is art? I do. Not good art, probably. But definitely art.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "archaeology as a science seem to be largely incapable of objective interpretation"

      "Objective interpretation" is an oxymoron, moron.

  • Which is ironic since from what I've read they not only had bigger brains than most modern humans, but they also contributed a good chunk of DNA to Indo-European peoples...

    • Re:Dumb neanderthals (Score:4, Informative)

      by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @09:36AM (#47806803)

      Which is ironic since from what I've read they not only had bigger brains than most modern humans, but they also contributed a good chunk of DNA to Indo-European peoples...

      Actually, to almost everyone outside of Africa, in varying degrees.

    • Which is ironic since from what I've read they not only had bigger brains than most modern humans, but they also contributed a good chunk of DNA to Indo-European peoples...

      Yeah, sure, but how many of them published in *peer reviewed* journals? Amateurs.

  • Further research shows that the Neanderthals formed a Cave Painting Artists Association (CPAA) to protect the copyrights and the intellectual properties of these cave painters. CPAA then started suing all other people who made copycat paintings as copyright infringers. Since the early drawings were little more than scratches on the rock faces, anything anyone else did that made any scratch anywhere was deemed to be a copy cat drawing and copyright infringement. All the activities of all the people of the species ground to a halt. Unable to find food they just starved to death.
  • That is simply the place where they lopped off limbs of there captured foes... probably ate them at the Number Six Dance later on.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    An anonymous reader writes with news of a study that suggests an engraving in Gorham's Cave in Gibraltar was made by Neanderthals more than 39,000 years ago.

    Tell me I'm not the only one to read that as Gotham's Cave...

  • ... is that this appears to confirm the Neanderthals IP rights to the octothorpe, and Twitter owes them tons of back royalties.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Given that the highest incidence of Neanderthal DNA in modern humans is found in the Tuscany region of Italy where the greatest artists of the Renaissance were located it may be that the Sapiens/Neanderthal combination is responsible for great visual art.

  • #neanderthal #40kBC

  • (It survived till our days in a form of hip-hop.)

  • This is a mountain being made out of a mole hill. What we have is evidence that a series of hash marks were made for no reason we can see. Therefore, it must be symbolic. I'm not buying it, even if they are selling.

    First, we have to remember that the Neanderthals did not much change their tool set for something like 260,000 years. If you find a Mousterian tool set anywhere you have Neanderthals. That is weird in it's self. Think about it, for 2600 centuries everywhere from Afghanistan to Gibraltar all Neand

  • Some researchers said "the artifacts may not have been made by Neanderthals but by modern humans." Until the truth of that be known, it is too soon to re write human history, However 2001 in South Africa, at a site called Blombos Cave, is found 70,000 year old writing and art on "two pieces of ochre rock decorated with geometric patterns." The patterns could in no way be considered to be accidental or anything other than deliberate. Maybe the re write should have already began. http://a.disquscdn.com/upload [disquscdn.com]

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