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Researchers Say Neanderthals Created Cave Art

samzenpus posted about 1 month ago | from the scribble-of-the-ages dept.

Science 91

An anonymous reader writes with news of a study that suggests an engraving in Gorham's Cave in Gibraltar was made by Neanderthals more than 39,000 years ago. Belying their reputation as the dumb cousins of early modern humans, Neanderthals created cave art, an activity regarded as a major cognitive step in the evolution of humankind, scientists reported on Monday in a paper describing the first discovery of artwork by this extinct species. The discovery is "a major contribution to the redefinition of our perception of Neanderthal culture," said prehistorian William Rendu of the French National Centre for Scientific Research, who was not involved in the work. "It is a new and even stronger evidence of the Neanderthal capacity for developing complex symbolic thought" and "abstract expression," abilities long believed exclusive to early modern humans.

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Neanderthals = Humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805129)

We keep going over this, but Modern humans contain the genetics of Neanderthals which means they were not cousins, but ancestors.

Oh yeah and frost prist

Re:Neanderthals = Humans (4, Funny)

ameen.ross (2498000) | about 1 month ago | (#47805143)

I actually know some Neanderthal descendants personally.

Re:Neanderthals = Humans (4, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | about 1 month ago | (#47806141)

I know of a whole social network of people communicating in these # neanderthal signs.

Re:Neanderthals = Humans (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 1 month ago | (#47806837)

if they were creating cave art, then they were certainly creating other forms of art. nothing special about caves.

Re:Neanderthals = Humans (2)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807683)

Most of today's works of art would not survive 10,000 years neglect, the exception being stonework. And we have done very little of that in the last hundred years. If we went away tomorrow, visitors to Earth 10,000 years from now would have trouble determining whether some of our contemporary art was done before or after the Lascaux cave paintings.

So cave art is special in that way.

It is also special because this old stuff was done in the flickering and moving light of torches. Photographs do not capture the art, especially in this type of petroglyph where the changing shadows as a torch was brought toward the work or moved from side to side would have been the point of the grooves.

It would be cool to model these in Blender or Maya, and make movies using a point source of light as the light changed intensity and was moved about. Or just take movies of the original cave art as someone carried a torch toward, away, and across it. The art here is definitely in the shadows, not the physical grooves.

Cave art is special in this way, too: we are not seeing it as the artist intended it to be seen. It is probably a lot more sophisticated than what the camera shows.

Re:Neanderthals = Humans (1)

schlachter (862210) | about a month and a half ago | (#47809229)

I meant from the cognitive perspective, which is what these articles are typically focused towards. It's not that Neaderthals are creating cave art. They're just creating art...and like you said, this is the form of it that we see.

Re:Neanderthals = Humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805163)

We keep going over this, but Modern humans contain the genetics of Neanderthals which means they were not cousins, but ancestors.

Oh yeah and frost prist

Some people in the scientific community are still trying to get over the shock of that discovery after postulating for decades that it was near impossible for Neanderthals to admix with modern humans. Meanwhile and perhaps somewhat surprisingly, some white supremacists seem to be starting to experiment with citing the fact that Europeans have Neanderthal DNA to explain what makes them the master race (it doesn't seem to disturb them though that Asians, Indians, native Americans and several pacific peoples all have this DNA as well). The world is a funny place.

Re:Neanderthals = Humans (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 1 month ago | (#47805651)

There are Neanderthal genes in all human populations that evolved outside Africa; if not confirming, then at least pointing in the direction of, some level of assimilation. The Neanderthal genome was mapped a few years ago, leading to this interesting conundrum:

To say that Our ancestors mated with Neanderthals is not correct. Neanderthals are our ancestors, at least in some small part.

Re:Neanderthals = Humans (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 1 month ago | (#47805659)

To say that Our ancestors mated with Neanderthals is not correct. Neanderthals are our ancestors, at least in some small part.

If the latter is correct, then so is the former, especially given the apparent lack of IVF technology at the time.

Re:Neanderthals = Humans (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 1 month ago | (#47805757)

To say that Our ancestors mated with Neanderthals is not correct. Neanderthals are our ancestors, at least in some small part.

If the latter is correct, then so is the former, especially given the apparent lack of IVF technology at the time.

Not necessarily. There's only one alleged case of a Minotaur, for example.

Re:Neanderthals = Humans (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 1 month ago | (#47805837)

Indeed. Our ancestral relatives bred with our other ancestral relatives.

Circular logic then suggests we are but the spawn of incestuous breeding.

Re:Neanderthals = Humans (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 1 month ago | (#47806233)

Indeed. Our ancestral relatives bred with our other ancestral relatives.

Circular logic then suggests we are but the spawn of incestuous breeding.

It's said that all people with blue eyes are descendant from one person who lived near the black sea some 10-12ky ago. Since you need two parents with the blue gene to have blue eyes this means the person who first obtained the mutation did not have blue eyes, nor could his children have them. His grandchildren are the first possible blue eyed people if they bred with a sibling, more likely the first blue eyes were several generations removed from the person who got the original mutation.

As for TFA, the picture clearly demonstrates Neandertals invented tic-tac-toe.

Re:Neanderthals = Humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805891)

To say that Our ancestors mated with Neanderthals is not correct. Neanderthals are our ancestors, at least in some small part.

Well some of our Neanderthal ancestors mated with some of our Cro-Magnon ancestors and meaning that we are all Cro-Magnon/Neanderthal hybrids. Which makes you wonder why some scientists like Ian Tattersal for example argued so fiercely against admixture between early modern and archaic humans. On the whole human beings like all other animals are hardwired to do anything to avoid inbreeding.

Re:Neanderthals = Humans (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 1 month ago | (#47807109)

Most of the objections stemmed from the lack of mtDNA evidence, though there could have been some old biases leaking in. For a long time Neanderthals were seen as subhuman, more ape than man.

But the nuclear genetic evidence is irrefutable; there is Neanderthal and Denosovian genes in pretty much all the human populations outside of Subsaharan Africa.

Re:Neanderthals = Humans (1)

Sarius64 (880298) | about 1 month ago | (#47805571)

How dare you question settled science! Denier!

neanderthals were board without TV (2)

FudRucker (866063) | about 1 month ago | (#47805161)

its obvious they were playing tic-tac-toe

Re:neanderthals were board without TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805317)

or posting on slashdot

Re:neanderthals were board without TV (1)

fisted (2295862) | about 1 month ago | (#47805429)

board.

Re:neanderthals were board without TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805597)

I LOLed at that too...

Re:neanderthals were board without TV (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 1 month ago | (#47805759)

Scrabble [TM]

Re:neanderthals were board without TV (1)

jandersen (462034) | about 1 month ago | (#47805669)

What nonsense is this? This is clearly part of a hash-tag: '# ...'

Re:neanderthals were board without TV (1)

Rashdot (845549) | about 1 month ago | (#47806227)

Tic-tac-toe can be played without a board.

Re:neanderthals were board [sic] without TV (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 1 month ago | (#47806657)

its obvious they were playing tic-tac-toe

Or this was the first attempt at Twitter -- but the format of only 1 character proved overly restrictive, even for teenage Neanderthals with limited communication skills. This poor sap only managed to get the hashtag marker down (#). It only took a few tens of thousands of years to try again with 140 characters -- and now we can communicate with fragmentary badly-formulated thoughts like Neanderthals again.

[/sarcasm]

In all seriousness, what's with calling this "art"? I get how early cave drawings of animals or whatever could be significant in attesting a new kind of representative thought process. But a few carved lines in a wall? I get the point of early 20th-century abstract artists who were trying to break away from Romanticist and Realist ideals of representation in painting, but I hardly think we can ascribe such ideas of "art" to Neanderthals.

TFA seems to imply that it's the apparent lack of functionality that makes it "art," but that itself is a definition of "art" that pretty much was made up by philosophers of aesthetics in the 19th century. Prior to that time, "art" was largely viewed in society as a general kind of craft -- "artists" were generally employed by patrons or had shops in towns where their work was seen to serve some sort of important social purpose, not just be some sort of generic outlet of egotistic creativity. (We still retain that meaning in words like "artisan" and phrases like "The Art of X" which often means something more like "Important Skills for X.") Again, it seems like a rather anachronistic idea.

Rather, what we have evidence of here is apparently some Neanderthals carving lines in a wall for a reason we can't ascertain yet. That is *interesting*. But just because we can't imagine why some primitive hominid might have a good reason to try something like this doesn't mean there's no possible reason. It could have been an elderly crazy Neanderthal whacking a stone tool into a wall. It could have been some young crazy kids doing something stupid. Moreover, anyone who has spent time with pet dogs and cats has surely seen all sorts of animal behavior that we humans can't comprehend and which seems to serve no "purpose," but could easily result in some sort of odd damage or scratch marks or whatever.

Don't get me wrong: this still seems really interesting, but the term "art" causes readers of TFA to make all kinds of potentially unwarranted assumptions about creativity or leisure time or intelligence or whatever. These kind of assumptions are really hard to sort out -- fundamentally, they amount to questions of "intelligent design"... literally. To all those who say that such questions are beyond the realm of science when we talk about evolution, here's a real example that requires us to consider in detail: (1) is this an example of something "designed," or a naturally occurring phenomenon caused by erosion or whatever, and (2) what level of intelligence or intention may have been required to create it, and for what purpose? These are questions archaeologists have to deal with all the time: is this a naturally occurring rock, or an arrowhead shaped and designed by an intelligent being.

(By the way, I'm absolutely NOT advocating the religious sham that goes by the name "intelligent design," which is usually less interested in these actual questions than in restoring creationism in schools. However, I think when debating that issue, it's helpful to realize that scientists do have to confront those exact kinds of questions -- where past events require interpretation and falsifiability is hard to quantify.)

Re:neanderthals were board [sic] without TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47821585)

ISTR that one explanation of the abstract patterns of lines is that they're a kind of language, possibly a form of heraldry or signature (more akin to the traditional fishermen's jumpers worn in parts of the British Isles than anything done by the college of heralds, but the same general concept). IIRC similar patterns have been found on grave goods and other small items.

The first critic (2)

charronia (3780579) | about 1 month ago | (#47805167)

I wonder how look it took before the first art critic came into existence.

Video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805381)

From the documentary 'History of the World, Part I' [youtube.com]

But, I am a stand up philosopher, so my facts could be wrong.

Re:Video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47806767)

Oh, a bullshit artist.

A dangerous job back then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805455)

Art critics didn't last very long in those days.

Critic: Me not like Ogg's art

Ogg: Me bash critic over head

Re:A dangerous job back then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805875)

Ah, for the good old days.

Now "Neanderthal man" is a compliment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805173)

Those having no Neanderthal genes are so stupid compared to those having Neanderthal genes.

Re:Now "Neanderthal man" is a compliment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805361)

Those having no Neanderthal genes are so stupid compared to those having Neanderthal genes.

As it happens this is completely [discovery.com] true [independent.co.uk] .

Re:Now "Neanderthal man" is a compliment (1)

mrego (912393) | about a month and a half ago | (#47808517)

So easy a caveman can do it?

Hate!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805177)

What's with all of the Republican hate we're seeing in the academics lately?

Re:Hate!? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805193)

What's with all of the Republican hate we're seeing in the academics lately?

The Republican establishment for the forseable future is married through and through to the Cristian Fundamentalists (ISIS worldview minus the bombs and beheadings). Hence their very anti science worldview. Now there are some Republicans intelligent enough to recognize the benefits of science and why it's important for society and the country. But they're few and far between and they don't make any difference among the rest of their party members which is actually quite sad.

Re:Hate!? (0, Troll)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 1 month ago | (#47805235)

ISTM that Republican anti-science-ism is mostly limited to two areas, evolution denial and global warming denial. The latter is easily explained by the party's tradition of ruling for the benefit of Koch types (and having their campaigns funded by same), and the former is easily explained as an easy way to get religious traditionalists to vote against their own best interests.

Re:Hate!? (-1, Flamebait)

Sarius64 (880298) | about 1 month ago | (#47805579)

Guess they couldn't hack those eugenics associations, like you Democrats.

Re:Hate!? (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 1 month ago | (#47807265)

Or not being able to get members elected to high council in the Klan.

Re:Hate!? (1)

Sarius64 (880298) | about a month and a half ago | (#47808043)

Good point. Let's not forget Bill Clinton eulogizing Senator Robert Byrd (D):

"I'll tell you what it means. He was a country boy from the hills and hollers of West Virginia, he was trying to get elected. And maybe he did something he shouldn't have done, and he spent the rest of his life making it up. And that's what a good person does. There are no perfect people. There are certainly no perfect politicians."

See, you can rationalize anything to stay in power.

Re:Hate!? (0)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 1 month ago | (#47805259)

Cristian Fundamentalists (ISIS worldview minus the bombs and beheadings)

MINUS the bombs!? [truth-out.org]

Re:Hate!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805541)

I guess the real difference is that the ones who want to establish a state in the name of God are evil, and the ones who can destroy the world in the name of Jesus are the good guys.

Re:Hate!? (0)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 1 month ago | (#47805591)

the ones who want to establish a state in the name of God are evil

Does this definition include those who claim that the US was founded as a Christian nation?

Re:Hate!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805801)

Yes.

Re:Hate!? (1)

Cragen (697038) | about 1 month ago | (#47806937)

Wish I could mod you up.

Re:Hate!? (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 1 month ago | (#47806717)

Yes, Republicans need to reclaim the spirit of Goldwater. Can we hope for Democrats to ever reclaim the spirit of Roosevelt?

Re:Hate!? (1)

gtall (79522) | about 1 month ago | (#47807427)

Nooooo...they should be reclaiming the spirit of Roswell. Those aliens cannot all be Republicans.

Re:Hate!? (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 1 month ago | (#47806703)

What do you mean, 'lately'?

Re:Hate!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47808341)

That's your stupidest troll yet greenwow. Off topic, pointless, and totally moronic.

Elephants can paint too (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | about 1 month ago | (#47805225)

We know that african elephants are capable of painting beuatifull pictures, so it is quite easy to imagine Neanderthals doing that and much more then that. It seems, that intelligence is not "so special" as we tought. We probably slaughtered Neanderthals, otherwise we could have 2 intelligent species already (and probably many more to come in the coming millions of years).

Re:Elephants can paint too (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805255)

No. Those elephants are tortured to submission to be controlled by their handler to paint the same paintings over and over again for the amusement of tourists.

http://www.snopes.com/photos/animals/elephantpainting.asp

Re:Elephants can paint too (0)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 1 month ago | (#47805377)

Reposting AC's comment [slashdot.org] (as it's slightly more useful to do so than just reply with "mod parent up"):

No. Those elephants are tortured to submission to be controlled by their handler to paint the same paintings over and over again for the amusement of tourists.

http://www.snopes.com/photos/a... [snopes.com]

Re:Elephants can paint too (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 1 month ago | (#47806077)

Slaughter them? Why? They would have made great slaves.

Humanity is built on slavery, all of the "wonders of the world" were built with slaves.

The United states was built with slaves.

And if you actually look at society today, slavery is still rampant just in different forms and disguise.

not surprised (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805241)

Monkeys/primates don't look that much like us, and they act very similar. Their intelligence is said to be that of a human child. Nearnderthals looked nearly identical to humans...I'd imagine their brains are just as nearly identical. You'd probably have to have a pretty long conversation with them to suss out any REAL differences in intelligence if there even are any. Likely most of the difference would be cultural, including any clinging to superstition, rather than intellectual.
The idea that neanderthals are too dumb for cave art is just as rediculous as the notion that some humans are practically animals compared to other humans (what most racists believe).

Re:not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805567)

The idea that neanderthals are too dumb for cave art is just as rediculous as the notion that some humans are practically animals compared to other humans (what most racists believe).

I imagine that, prior to the discovery of evidence that they painted cave art, the argument was that there was no evidence that they had, not that they were unable.

Re:not surprised (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 1 month ago | (#47806763)

The idea that neanderthals are too dumb for cave art is just as rediculous as the notion that some humans are practically animals compared to other humans (what most racists believe).

I imagine that, prior to the discovery of evidence that they painted cave art, the argument was that there was no evidence that they had, not that they were unable.

No, there's a long tradition of viewing the Neandertals as "incapable of symbolic behavior". In the latest edition of Scientific American there's still a guy peddling the argument with moved goal-posts.

Re:not surprised (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a month and a half ago | (#47808323)

The irony is that anatomically modern humans were stuck in the same kind "stasis" for tens of thousands of years as well. Modern human anatomy predates the earliest signs of modern human behavior by something like 40k to 50k years.

Re:not surprised (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a month and a half ago | (#47813403)

I suspect people put too much emphasis on brain evolution as an explanation for technological innovation. Think how slow innovation would be coming now if the world population was 50,000 and we didn't have writing.

Our ancestors of maybe 10,000 years ago had a material culture closer to the apes than to us, but we probably hyaven't changed much during that period.

Re:not surprised (1)

careysub (976506) | about a month and a half ago | (#47815571)

...

Our ancestors of maybe 10,000 years ago had a material culture closer to the apes than to us, but we probably hyaven't changed much during that period.

Since humans of 10,000 years ago made woven clothing, observed celestial events and linked them to earthly activities, produced very sophisticated stone tools (which had a long distance distribution system of some kind), and art at a high level, I would say that their culture was much closer to us than to apes.

Genetic studies show that the rate of human evolution has been accelerating, and since the advent of agriculture have become 10-100 times faster than in the paleolithic, so that 10,000 years could make changes similar to what could be accomplished during earlier phases of evolution in 100,000 to 1,000,000 years. We don't know, at this point, what all these changes mean.

Animals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47811181)

The idea that neanderthals are too dumb for cave art is just as rediculous [sic] as the notion that some humans are practically animals compared to other humans (what most racists believe).

Actually humans ARE animals, although we share about 43% of our DNA with lettuce, so I guess we're part plant too. It's a common linguistic fallacy that people are "just like the animals" for the simple reason that there is no "just like." That's like saying a glass of water is just like a glass of water.

The fact that we share DNA with plants certainly explains a lot about my brother-in-law.

*Old* cave art? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 1 month ago | (#47805251)

40 kya is pretty old, even as far as cave art is considered. But Neanderthals certainly didn't pain Lascaux - too recent for that.

The Big Question Is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805285)

Were they white or black Neanderthals?

Re:The Big Question Is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805457)

Considering where Neanderthals lived, in Europe, not a lot of melanin was necessary to protect the skin.

Nagga_lova (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805301)

Even naggers can paint (their nose white with powder)!

not art but maths (1)

amias (105819) | about 1 month ago | (#47805309)

the grid patterns are a way of doing maths

Who thinks they were dumb anyway? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 1 month ago | (#47805313)

They survived in a hostile ice age climate for eons before we turned up. You don't manage that unless you A) Have a heavily adapted physiology (eg mammoth) or B) Are damn smart.

Anyway, the fact that apparently we interbred with neanderthals and the DNA got passed on - ie the offspring weren't sterile - means they were almost certainly the same species as us - probably just a different race. And we know how well races meeting can turn out.. If anyone wants to know why the died out , well maybe thats a clue.

Re:Who thinks they were dumb anyway? (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 1 month ago | (#47807227)

We don't know how fertile the offspring were. There are species where if species X is male and species Y is female the offspring are fertile but not the other way around. There are also hybrids where only occasionally the offspring are also fertile such as mules where there are only a couple of recorded pregnancies.
Species is more a spectrum thing then binary and Neanderthals are different enough to be considered at least a different subspecies if not a different species.

Lesson (0)

WillKemp (1338605) | about 1 month ago | (#47805325)

The lesson from the recent bout of frantic backpedaling on Neanderthals is not to take the slightest bit of notice of the extrapolations of archaeologists. The raw data of their findings is interesting, but it's always open to interpretation. However, archaeology as a science seem to be largely incapable of objective interpretation. Maybe it's time they stuck to digging things up and stopped trying to interpret what they find. That interpretation really requires quite a different discipline.

Re:Lesson (1)

unrtst (777550) | about 1 month ago | (#47805431)

Agreed. I have no idea why they think this is even art, and the article shows no justification for it.
It's some gouges carved into rock on a shelf-ish thing (just a flat area where some tools were found). They say it would have taken at least 54 strokes with their tools to create one line, and there's only a handful of lines, and they say this was not where they cut animal hides. From that, they say it must have been art.
I'm not archaeologist, but my first guess would be that someone was bored, and I think that's a MUCH more likely explanation, but there's no way I'd assume I know what the motivation was 30,000 years ago (and "art" is all about motivation).

Re:Lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805587)

I'm not archaeologist

Well, that's all you needed to say.

Re:Lesson (1)

careysub (976506) | about a month and a half ago | (#47815583)

... From that, they say it must have been art. I'm not archaeologist, but my first guess would be that someone was bored, and I think that's a MUCH more likely explanation...

You don't think your doodling during lecture is art? I do. Not good art, probably. But definitely art.

Re:Lesson (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47807313)

"archaeology as a science seem to be largely incapable of objective interpretation"

"Objective interpretation" is an oxymoron, moron.

Re:Lesson (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about a month and a half ago | (#47814841)

"Objective interpretation" is an oxymoron, moron.

Yeah? Explain.

Dumb neanderthals (1)

MikeRT (947531) | about 1 month ago | (#47805411)

Which is ironic since from what I've read they not only had bigger brains than most modern humans, but they also contributed a good chunk of DNA to Indo-European peoples...

Re:Dumb neanderthals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805599)

Didn't neanderthals die out because of lack of food? As I understand it, they have both a larger brain and body. But their encephalization ration wasn't as good as human's.

Unless you're farming, you had better be at the top of your game (apex predator) if you plan on staying around as a species. That, or stay one foot in the grave forever and one foot out via mixed blood with the human race.

Re:Dumb neanderthals (3, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 1 month ago | (#47806803)

Which is ironic since from what I've read they not only had bigger brains than most modern humans, but they also contributed a good chunk of DNA to Indo-European peoples...

Actually, to almost everyone outside of Africa, in varying degrees.

Re:Dumb neanderthals (1)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807617)

Which is ironic since from what I've read they not only had bigger brains than most modern humans, but they also contributed a good chunk of DNA to Indo-European peoples...

Yeah, sure, but how many of them published in *peer reviewed* journals? Amateurs.

Re:Dumb neanderthals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47814471)

"Indo-European" peoples are not a genetically coherent bunch, only a linguistically coherent group. As someone else pointed out, anyone with non-African descent has Neanderthal blood.

Actually it explains their extinction too. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 1 month ago | (#47805691)

Further research shows that the Neanderthals formed a Cave Painting Artists Association (CPAA) to protect the copyrights and the intellectual properties of these cave painters. CPAA then started suing all other people who made copycat paintings as copyright infringers. Since the early drawings were little more than scratches on the rock faces, anything anyone else did that made any scratch anywhere was deemed to be a copy cat drawing and copyright infringement. All the activities of all the people of the species ground to a halt. Unable to find food they just starved to death.

Games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47805867)

They're talking about this checkerboard pattern as an example of abstract art, but a better hypothesis might be that it's part of a game, especially for when it's raining outside. Like us, the Neanderthals got bored.

Keep in mind why scientific opinion of the Neanderthals has had to be revised. Evolutionary thinking served as a kind of mental straight-jacket. Neanderthals, it was thought, had to be one of the missing links between apes and men, therefore they had to be stupid and brute like. A century ago, G. K. Chesterton, a Catholic writer, was mocking that idea, but it reigned supreme in science until very recently despite the lack of evidence.

Science is as much about dogma as evidence, as illustrated by all the efforts to promote a strange multiple universe theory to answer the problems associated with fine tuning. Our universe is uniquely tuned to make life possible. It can't be designed that way, scientific dogma asserts, that would mean a designer, hence God. On the other hand, the possibility of that happening by chance is exceedingly remote. Therefore there must be an infinite number of universes, each slightly different. As theories go, it's extraordinarily complex and wasteful--not to mention stupid.

Re:Games? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 1 month ago | (#47806907)

So you'd like to convert the discussion to why we have the kind of God we have instead of why we have the kind of universe we have? Maybe we have an infinite number of Gods, each slightly different?

what art? (1)

imatter (2749965) | about 1 month ago | (#47807291)

That is simply the place where they lopped off limbs of there captured foes... probably ate them at the Number Six Dance later on.

Re:what art? (1)

imatter (2749965) | about 1 month ago | (#47807305)

apparently my inner neanderthal is showing in my spelling, their!!!

Gotham's Cave? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47807299)

An anonymous reader writes with news of a study that suggests an engraving in Gorham's Cave in Gibraltar was made by Neanderthals more than 39,000 years ago.

Tell me I'm not the only one to read that as Gotham's Cave...

The real news ... (1)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | about 1 month ago | (#47807353)

... is that this appears to confirm the Neanderthals IP rights to the octothorpe, and Twitter owes them tons of back royalties.

Neanderthal/Sapiens hybrid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47807449)

Given that the highest incidence of Neanderthal DNA in modern humans is found in the Tuscany region of Italy where the greatest artists of the Renaissance were located it may be that the Sapiens/Neanderthal combination is responsible for great visual art.

#neanderthal (1)

madhatter256 (443326) | about 1 month ago | (#47807465)

#neanderthal #40kBC

Their drawings weren't merely art... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47809507)

They were LESSONS for younger males most likely, as in "Dad *may* not be home after this stuff, so you WILL need to know how this is all done, so you & the rest of the family here, can eat (after I am gone)" - same idea as writing in more modern times (I consider it our "racial memory" that allows us to stand on, & build upon, a foundation left by 'giants' before us, in fact).

* Think about it...

(I mean, the odds of you surviving a hunt for say, wooly mammoths OR mastodons, using spears for Pete's sake, couldn't have been very good - toss in a saber-toothed tiger in the mix, & you "get my point"/"catch my drift" here...)

APK

P.S.=> So, my point's that these drawings were made by TEACHERS in their times, mostly for young males - guidebooks in illustrated form basically, for hunting... apk

And they created their own music too! (1)

porky_pig_jr (129948) | about a month and a half ago | (#47810809)

(It survived till our days in a form of hip-hop.)

It looks like they also invented... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47813579)

...pole dancing.

One look at the rock carving and you can see that, right?

Maybe not art (1)

raque (457836) | about a month and a half ago | (#47814541)

This is a mountain being made out of a mole hill. What we have is evidence that a series of hash marks were made for no reason we can see. Therefore, it must be symbolic. I'm not buying it, even if they are selling.

First, we have to remember that the Neanderthals did not much change their tool set for something like 260,000 years. If you find a Mousterian tool set anywhere you have Neanderthals. That is weird in it's self. Think about it, for 2600 centuries everywhere from Afghanistan to Gibraltar all Neanderthals used the same set of technologies. Not a lot of original thinking going on there. This has all sorts of problems, like where did they all learn the same tool set? Where did that knowledge come from and why didn't it change?

Second, the hash marks are not associated with anything else, nor is it reported that they are repeated anywhere else. One set, one place, once. Walk into a cave, find Mousterian tools, you have Neanderthal. Walk into a cave and it's painted like a '70s Brooklyn subway car, and everything else had been doodled on, the tools set is one of dozens locally, and you have humans.

Third, the definition of art is off. Art may not serve a practical purpose, but does do something specific. The Soluterian culture, which was modern human and followed the Mousterian, would make flint blades several time larger then normal and so thin and delicate that the could never be used as a blade. They are being used as symbols. They are art. What was found is not understood and drawing conclusions is not warranted.

30,000 years after South Africa (1)

Nat Turner (3652131) | about a month and a half ago | (#47814711)

Some researchers said "the artifacts may not have been made by Neanderthals but by modern humans." Until the truth of that be known, it is too soon to re write human history, However 2001 in South Africa, at a site called Blombos Cave, is found 70,000 year old writing and art on "two pieces of ochre rock decorated with geometric patterns." The patterns could in no way be considered to be accidental or anything other than deliberate. Maybe the re write should have already began. http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads... [disquscdn.com] Full article http://www.accessexcellence.or... [accessexcellence.org]

Easyfix Property Services (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47916075)

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