The origin of artists: why humans should take credit for inventing art

Monday, June 25, 2012 - 07:31 in Paleontology & Archaeology

Why are we Homo sapiens so keen to attribute the world's oldest cave art to Neanderthals when there's stronger evidence to suggest that art came from us?Why do Neanderthals so fascinate Homo sapiens? And why are we so keen to exaggerate their virtues?It is political correctness gone prehistoric. At every opportunity, people rush to attribute "human" virtues to this extinct human-like species. The latest generosity is to credit them with the first true art.A recent redating of cave art in Spain has revealed the oldest paintings in Europe. A red dot in the cave El Castillo has now been dated at 40,800 years ago – considerably older than the cave art of Chauvet in France and contemporary with the arrival of the very first "modern humans", Homo sapiens, in Europe.This raises two possibilities, point out the researchers. Either the new humans from Africa started painting in caves the moment they...

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