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Prehistoric cave markings prove Neanderthals ‘paint art like humans’

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 9th August, 2021 03:24:06 PM
  • Print news

Markings discovered on stalagmites in southern Spain prove Neanderthals were creative and “closer to humans” than previously thought, a new study says.

Neanderthals, whose lineage died out about 40,000 years ago, have long been stereotyped as unsophisticated “cavemen.”

But the discovery of a red ocher pigment in the Caves of Ardales, near Malaga, which dates back 65,000 years, could demonstrate that its creators were the first artists in the history of the world.

The study, which found that pigments were made in the caves at different times between 15,000 and 20,000 years apart, was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

He contends that the findings show that the pigments were artificial and dispels an earlier suggestion that the pigments were the result of natural oxide flux.

Joao Zilhao, one of the study’s authors, said dating techniques showed that Neanderthals had spit ocher on the stalagmites, possibly as part of a ritual.

“The importance is that it changes our attitude towards Neanderthals. They were closer to humans. Recent research has shown that they liked objects, they mated with humans and now we can show that they painted caves like us, ”he said.

The study’s findings support the idea that Neanderthals used pigments symbolically for an extended period of time in a method “consistent with recurring artistic activity.”

They “support the view that Neanderthals developed a rock art form more than 20,000 years before the rise of anatomical modernity in Europe,” the study reads.

 

Source: Agency