Feeds

Cave scrawls prove Neanderthals were AT LEAST as talented as modern artists

Gibraltar graffiti matches up well to early Hirst or Emin

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

A primitive and apparently meaningless marking ground into a rock by a Neanderthal using a crude implement more than 39,000 years ago would appear to support the idea that the pre-human ape-men possessed artistic faculties at least as sophisticated as those of the "young British artists" movement of the '90s.

Dahling, such vigour, such intensity

The "engraving", which is described as "bearing a passing resemblance to the grid for a game of noughts and crosses" by the BBC, was found on a rock in Gorham's cave, Gibraltar. Investigating scientists are fairly sure it is the work of Neanderthals, as it was found beneath undisturbed sediments in which Neanderthal artifacts had already been discovered. The rock scribble should thus date from more than 40,000 years ago, prior to the arrival of modern H sapiens humans in the region.

We are told:

Further geochemical analysis of the mineral coating on the engraved grooves suggests that the rock art was created before deposition of the overlying sediment. The [scientists] took microphotographs of the tool marks within the engraving, compared the marks with experimental marks made with various tools, and determined that the abstract cave engraving was likely created intentionally by repeatedly passing a robust cutting tip over the rock in the same direction, and not by incidental cutting associated with other activities.

"The results add to evidence at other sites that Neanderthal intellectual capacity may have previously been underestimated," the discoverers add.

Some would say that the crude scrawl hardly suggests a high level of intellectual capacity, but one must remember that the scientists are only seeking to compare the Neanderthals with major human artists of recent times such as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Katie Paterson. Against this sort of benchmark, it's clear that were the Neanderthals around today they'd be quite capable of selling pieces to Charles Saatchi for a million quid a go, or at the very least of obtaining a hefty European grant.

Full detail on the research which uncovered the excitingly primitive art is to be published in the august Proceedings of the [US] National Academy of Sciences. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.