Neanderthals: Artistic, After All?

Videos Highlighting The Latest Search Trends.
June 16 2012 11:19 AM

Neanderthals: Artistic, After All?

108877896
New scientific research suggests Neanderthals may have been more artistic than earlier believed.

Photo by HASSAN AMMAR/AFP/Getty Images

We know they can sell insurance, but were Neanderthals artists too?

Scientists using improved radioactive carbon-dating techniques are now able to more accurately determine the age of Europe’s most famous prehistoric cave paintings. Their revelation? The so-called Panel of Hands in Spain’s El Castillo cave, simple red circles and hand stencils, were created more than 40 thousand years ago, when Neanderthals were known to exist. Hardly the sophisticated animal drawings of future cave artists, these ancient splotches and outlines could still prove that our assumptions about the cultural ignorance of Neanderthals aren’t exactly fair.

Advertisement

There's only one problem with this Flintstone fine art theory. New science suggests that humans and Neanderthals were both in Europe at the same time—and like any good backpackers, they were also sharing, ahem, their beds. So without a signature at the bottom, we’re not sure who exactly made these paintings.

Researchers say there is a solution. Find an older cave painting, created before those pesky Homo sapien hipsters started polluting the art scene and making it all, err … highbrow.

Video by Paca Thomas.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?