The oldest paintings ever found on Earth were not made by humans – research

one of the The most controversial questions in history Neanderthals The research was whether they created art. In the past few years, the consensus has become that they sometimes did. But, like their relationships at either end of the human evolutionary tree, chimpanzees and A wise manAnd Neanderthal behavior It differed culturally from one group to another and over time.

Perhaps their art was more abstract than the stereotypical figure and animal cave paintings A wise man They were made after the disappearance of Neanderthals about 30,000 years ago. But archaeologists are beginning to appreciate just how creative Neanderthal art was in itself.

A wise man It is believed to have evolved in Africa at least 315,000 years ago. The numbers of Neanderthals in Europe go back at least 400,000 years.

as early as possible 250,000 years agoNeanderthals mixed minerals such as hematite (ochre) and manganese With liquids to make red and black paints – probably Decorate the body and clothes.

It’s human nature

search by Paleolithic archaeologists in the 1990s It radically changed the popular view of Neanderthals as idiots. We now know that, far from trying to keep up A wise manThey had a subtle behavioral evolution of their own. Their large brains earned their evolutionary setback.

Red pigment washes in the concavities of the curtains of gleaming stalactites in Ardales Cave.The author Paul Pettitte and the team made acquaintance with cave art

We know who Find the remains in the subterranean cavesincluding footprints and Evidence of use of the tool and pigments in places where Neanderthals had no apparent reason for being, so that they seemed curious about their world.

Why have they strayed from the realm of light to dangerous depths where there is neither food nor drinkable water? We can’t say for sure, but since this sometimes involves creating art on cave walls, it’s likely meaningful in some way rather than just a discovery.

Neanderthals lived in Small, close-knit groups of the nomads. When they traveled, they carried embers with them to light small bonfires in the rock shelters and riverbanks where they camped. They used tools to polish their spears and butcher carcasses. We should think of them as family groups, held together by constant negotiation and competition between people. Although it was organized into small groups, it was truly a world of individuals.

Why draw Neanderthals?

The evolution of Neanderthals’ visual culture over time indicates that their social structures were changing. They increasingly used dyes and ornaments to decorate their bodies. As I explain in my book, Rediscovering Homo sapiensNeanderthals decorated their bodies, perhaps because competition for group leadership became more complex. Colors and motifs conveyed messages of strength and power, helping individuals convince their contemporaries of their strength and suitability for leadership.

One of several dozen hand stencils remaining in the Maltraviso Cave. In the case of this hand, the Neanderthals who left it had to lie on the ground because it was created on a ceiling barely 30 cm high.The author Paul Pettitte and the team made acquaintance with cave art

Then, at least 65,000 years ago, Neanderthals used red pigments to paint marks on the walls of deep caves in Spain. In the Ardales Cave near Malaga in southern Spain, they painted the concave portions of a brilliant white stalactite.

In Maltravieso Cave in Extremadura, western Spain, they wrap their hands. And in the La Paciga cave in Cantabria in the north, Neanderthals made a rectangle by pressing repeatedly against the wall with fingertips dipped in pigment.

We can’t guess the exact meaning of these signs, but they do indicate that Neanderthals became more creative.

Later, about 50,000 years ago, it came personalized trinkets to decorate the body. These were limited to animal body parts – pendants made from carnivorous teeth, shells, and bits of bone. This necklace was identical to the one he was wearing around the same time A wise manperhaps reflecting a simple common communication that each group can understand.

How did Neanderthals and human art differ?

Did the visual culture of Neanderthals differ from that of Neanderthals? A wise man? I think she probably did, though not in a state of mind. Non-figurative art was produced tens of thousands of years before the arrival of A wise man in Europe, which indicates that they created it independently.

In many cases, hand stencils were left on parts of cave walls and ceilings that were difficult to access, such as the one in the El Castillo cave, where Paul Pettitt showed the position of the hands.The author Paul Pettitte and the team made acquaintance with cave art

But she disagreed. We do not yet have any evidence that Neanderthals produced figurative art such as paintings of people or animals, which they produced on a large scale at least 37,000 years ago. A wise man groups that would eventually replace them in Eurasia.

Collages are not a sign of modernity, nor is the absence of them an indication of primitivism. Neanderthals used visual culture in a different way than their ancestors. Their colors and ornaments reinforced messages about each other through their bodies rather than by depicting objects.

It may be significant that our species did not produce animal forms or anything else until after the extinction of Neanderthals, Denisovans, and other human groups. No one used it in the biologically mixed region of Eurasia 300,000-40,000 years ago.

In Africa, however, a disagreement emerged on the subject. Our early ancestors used their pigments and Non-pictorial marks To begin with refer to the common emblems of social groups, such as groups of repeating lines – specific patterns.

Their art seems to have been less about individuals than about communities, using common signs like those etched on blocks of ocher in Blombos Cave in South Africa, as tribal designs. Ethnicities were to emerge, and groups—brought together by rules and social conventions—would be the heirs of Eurasia.

This article was originally published Conversation by Paul Pettit in Durham University. Read the The original article is here.

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