May 20, 2022

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Neanderthal man, artist 60,000 years ago

Neanderthal man, artist 60,000 years ago

(Paris) Prehistoric people have unequivocally confirmed that Neanderthals, the missing “cousins” of modern man, painted the stalagmite of a Spanish cave 60,000 years ago, according to a study published on Monday.

The affair has plagued a small community of historians since a study was published in 2018 applying “paint” to Neanderthals based on red ocher on monumental pillars in the Ardels Cave in southern Spain.

University photo of Barcelona, ​​by the agency France-Press

A study co-authored by prehistoric Francisco de Erico continues: “These deposits are not natural, they are actually ocher-based pigments brought into the cave.”

Dating, dating back at least 64,800 years, took place on stalagmite fragments, a time when modern humans did not live on the continent. “And perhaps a scientific statement that these pigments are natural”, the flow of iron oxide reminds AFP of the prehistoric Francisco de Erico.

His study, co-authored in the Journal of the American Academy of Sciences (PNAS), was carried out by the French researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research at the University of Bordeaux.

Painting done for many thousands of years

Even better, the analysis of these pigments, first of all, showed that not all of them were identical and that their variation corresponded to the different dates of the stalagmite fragments studied earlier.

According to Professor D’Erico, “this supports the hypothesis that Neanderthals came on many occasions over thousands of years to identify the cave with pigments”. And it is on a “unique, enormous stalagmite flow”.

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However, it is difficult to compare this behavior with that produced by modern human wall art, as recently as the 37,000-year-old Chouvet-Pont Dirk cave.

However this is an added touch to the portrait of the Neanderthals, except for the somewhat bourgeois “cousin” of man, and their lineage who died almost 40,000 years ago.

Professor D’Erico said, “It certainly can not be called art”, but “space, stalagmitive flow and pigmentation on it are important, behavioral symbol”.

Invocation of the supernatural?

When it comes to the cave art of modern humans, between artistic expression, world story or prayers of supernatural powers, when arguing about the meaning that modern humans should give to cave art, they are the most intelligent people who can understand the meaning.

“In some caves the entrance is inhabited, but the interior and depths are visited for something different, without any trace of art or activity,” says Professor de Erica.

He cites the example of the Bruniquel Cave in Torn-et-Garon, where the Neanderthals ventured more than 300 meters, where more than two tons of stalagmite were carefully broken. And that was 170,000 years ago.

With Ardels, it makes “two examples of Neanderthals entering a cave and assuming a role for these stalagmitic structures.”