The Oldest Art in the World Wasn’t Made By Homo sapiens

By Paul Pettitt / The Conversation

One of the most hotly debated questions in the history of Neanderthal research has been whether they created art. In the past few years, the consensus has become that they did, sometimes. But, like their relations at either end of the hominid evolutionary tree, chimpanzees and  Homo sapiens , Neanderthals’ behavior varied culturally from group to group and over time.

Their art was perhaps more abstract than the stereotypical figure and animal cave paintings  Homo sapiens  made after the Neanderthals disappeared about 30,000 years ago. But archaeologists are beginning to appreciate how creative Neanderthal art was in its own right.

Homo sapiens  are thought to have evolved in Africa from at least 315,000 years ago. Neanderthal populations in Europe have been traced back at least 400,000 years.

As early as  250,000 years ago , Neanderthals were mixing minerals such as  haematite (ochre) and manganese  with fluids to make red and black paints – presumably to  decorate the body and clothing .

It’s Human Nature

Research by  Palaeolithic archaeologists in the 1990s  radically changed the common view of Neanderthals as dullards. We now know that, far from trying to keep up with the  Homo sapiens , they had a nuanced behavioral evolution of their own. Their large brains earned their evolutionary keep.

We know from  finding remains in underground caves , including footprints and  evidence of tool use  and pigments in places where Neanderthals…

Everybody Should Be Participating
in LIVE Streams

Leave a Reply