10 January 2010

[art] Art – Neandertals Did It, Too

2294.Ever since 16,000-year-old cave paintings were found at Lascaux, people have argued about who did art first, where, when, and how, and even why.

As reported by io9.com at http://io9.com/5444560/new-evidence-that-neandertals-wore-shell-jewelry-and-painted, it turns out that the Neandertals (who coexisted with early Homo sapiens in Europe) were quite the crafty sorts themselves, with artifacts lending credence to the idea that H. neandertalensis was creating ornamental jewelry, using sparkly makeup, and painting with pigments at the same time that our ancestors were, and that they came upon it by themselves, 50,000 years ago:

The researchers found brightly-colored shell ornaments and the remains of several colorful pigments in a cave that would have been a few kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea 50 thousand years ago and is now in southern Spain). At another site nearby, they found more shell ornaments and pigments. What's remarkable is that many of these objects predate the era when Neandertals and early homo sapiens lived together in Europe. That means the Neandertals independently hit upon the idea to create shell jewelry and pigments. Previously, it's been difficult to determine whether Neandertal ornaments were the result of cross-pollination between the immigrant human population and the native Neandertals.

This offers further undermining of the conventional wisdom that Neandertal man was a less bright cousin of H. sapiens, but not just that, it shows that art has been part of the Human make up for longer than everyone thought. Can anyone doubt that there can be no Humanity without Art?

Maybe that's why this news makes me feel kind of antic inside.

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