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Cave art called oldest in world

 
 
Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 12:09 am
WASHINGTON • New tests show that crude Spanish cave paintings of a red sphere and handprints are the oldest in the world, so ancient they may not have been by modern man.

Some scientists say they might have even been made by the much-maligned Neanderthals, but others disagree.

Testing the coating of paintings in 11 Spanish caves, researchers found that one is at least 40,800 years old, which is at least 15,000 years older than previously thought. That makes them older than more famous French cave paintings by thousands of years.

Scientists dated the Spanish cave paintings by measuring the decay of uranium atoms, instead of traditional carbon-dating, according to a report released Thursday by the journal Science. The paintings were first discovered in the 1870s.

The oldest of the paintings is a red sphere from a cave called El Castillo. About 25 outlined handprints in another cave are at least 37,300 years old. Slightly younger paintings include horses.

Cave paintings are "one of the most exquisite examples of human symbolic behavior," said study co-author Joao Zilhao, an anthropologist at the University of Barcelona. "And that, that's what makes us human."

There is older sculpture and other portable art. Before the latest test, the oldest known cave paintings were those in France's Chauvet cave, considered between 32,000 and 37,000 years old.

What makes the dating of the Spanish cave paintings important is that it's around the time when modern humans first came into Europe from Africa.

Study authors say they could have been from modern man decorating their new digs or they could have been the work of the longtime former tenant of Europe: the Neanderthal. Scientists said Neanderthals were in Europe from about 250,000 years ago until about 35,000 years ago. Modern humans arrived in Europe about 41,000 to 45,000 years ago — with some claims they moved in even earlier — and replaced Neanderthals.

"There is a strong chance that these results imply Neanderthal authorship," Zilhao said. "But I will not say we have proven it because we haven't."

In a telephone press conference, Zilhao said Neanderthals recently have gotten "bad press" over their abilities. They decorated their tools and bodies. So, he said, they could have painted caves.


Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/national/cave-art-called-oldest-in-world/article_34b0257d-9804-572b-bba8-af67134cbc34.html#ixzz1xq6X2g1Q
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 12:59 am
Andy, thanks for the info. I was hoping that the link had some visuals. C'est la vie.
Lustig Andrei
 
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Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 01:01 am
@Roberta,
Know what you mean. I was looking for images, too; couldn't find any online.
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 01:03 am
@Roberta,
There's some art at this site, but nothing spectacular:

http://bostonglobe.com/news/world/2012/06/14/cave-art-found-much-older-than-previously-thought/KtcPxGDMeaQ5iDVbkdrEFK/story.html
Lustig Andrei
 
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Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 01:09 am
@Lustig Andrei,
http://www.larazon.es/images/uploads/image/f0/f9/379266/c617x266_068nac15fot1.jpg?1339721369

This is from the Spanish site http://www.larazon.es/noticia/6741-el-arte-mas-antiguo-es-espanol
Roberta
 
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Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 02:07 am
@Lustig Andrei,
The hand images are earlier than the animals, n'est pas? Is the animal dated around the same time as the Lascaux images?

This inquiring mind wants to know.
Sturgis
 
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Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 02:08 am
@Lustig Andrei,
Interesting. I will be awaiting more information.
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 02:19 am
@Roberta,
Way, way earlier than the Lascaux cave art, Roberta. Accoring to Wikipedia, at least, the paintings at Lascaux only date to between 17,000 and 18,000 years ago. We're talking 40,000+plus here.
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Lustig Andrei
 
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Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 02:26 am
Some more detail and interesting information here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/15/science/new-dating-puts-cave-art-in-the-age-of-neanderthals.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
Lustig Andrei
 
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Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 02:33 am
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/336/6087/1387.summary

(This is an article by Professor Hellstrom, University of Melbourne)
Roberta
 
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Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 03:00 am
@Lustig Andrei,
Thanks for the links, Andy. I feel somewhat enlightened. I got confused because the text said that the images were hands and symbols only, and I was looking at an animal. (Hey, I know an animal when I see one.)



farmerman
 
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Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 04:50 am
@Lustig Andrei,
Im skeptical of the "improved U/Th dating techniques". Ground water seeps within caves ca take all sorts of circuitous pathways that can give readings of the dissolved U fractions if the ground water comes from different aquifer areas. U/Th dating is very good at aging when we can be sure that the mineral deposition (in this case Ca carbonate) is fairly uniform. The caves at Altamira are within limestones of three separate ages .
Im not denying the dating, Im just questioning the assumptions in the methodology. I know this will be carefully looked at by guys at several rad nuclide labs
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farmerman
 
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Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 04:52 am
@Roberta,
Paleo Airbrush art.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
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Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 05:52 am
If anyone's interested, the documentary by Werner Herzog titled Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010) is quite wonderful. It's about the oldest cave paintings in found in France. Most importantly, the film lacks the often painfully oddball (typical) philosophical eccentricities often associated with Herzog films. It's standard documentary fare but still quite beautiful and very enjoyable to watch and ponder.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  -4  
Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 06:00 am
@Lustig Andrei,
There's no question Neanderthals were intelligent, but artwork was not one of their specialties. Handprints and very crude stuff as is being discussed here of course would not have been outside of their capabilities.

With and without the ice-age fur coat for illustration (www.themandus.org):
http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r53/icebear46/n10.gif
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gungasnake
 
  -4  
Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 06:01 am
Neanderthal and a modern human side by side (fur again left out for illustration):
http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r53/icebear46/n7.gif
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gungasnake
 
  -3  
Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 06:05 am
@Lustig Andrei,
That's Cro Magnon art of course. Modern humans had artwork on the day they first set foot on this planet.
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gungasnake
 
  -3  
Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 07:56 am
Danny Vendramini on youtube:

0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
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Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 08:34 am
More extremist nonsense by Gunga. If you passed a Neanderthal on the street you wouldn't give him a second glance.

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2009/5/16/1242501448097/Neanderthal-001.jpg
gungasnake
 
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Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 08:42 am
@izzythepush,
Danny Vendramini's works have been picked up by NHNZ for the purposes of televised documentaries, Poop. Let me know when YOU make it to the big time in something...
0 Replies
 
 

 
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