February 23, 2012

More on 43,000-year old "Neanderthal" art

I had blogged about this based on an early story. There is now an article in the far more reputable New Scientist which puts it into proper perspective:
Looking oddly akin to the DNA double helix, the images in fact depict the seals that the locals would have eaten, says José Luis Sanchidrián at the University of Cordoba, Spain. They have "no parallel in Palaeolithic art", he adds. His team say that charcoal remains found beside six of the paintings – preserved in Spain's Nerja caves – have been radiocarbon dated to between 43,500 and 42,300 years old. 
... 
If the age is confirmed, Pettitt suggests that the cave paintings could still have been the work of modern humans. "We can't be absolutely sure that Homo sapiens were not down there in the south of Spain at this time," he says. 
Sanchidrián does not rule out the possibility that the paintings were made by early Homo sapiens but says that this theory is "much more hypothetical" than the idea that Neanderthals were behind them. 
Dating of the Nerja seal paintings' pigments will not take place until after 2013. Further excavations in the extensive cave system – discovered by a group of boys hunting bats in 1959 – is ongoing.
It will be interesting to see the dates from the pigments themselves. As of now, I would rank the possibilities of who made this art, from most to least probable as: modern humans long after 43,000 years ago; modern humans c. 43,000 years ago; Neandertals c. 43,000 years ago.

4 comments:

  1. I'd say you have the second too backwards:

    More recent than 43k is my favourite, then Neanderthals, then HS 43k back. No reason to suppose HS were there, no reason to suppose Neanderthals didn't have art.

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  2. More recent than 43k is my favourite, then Neanderthals, then HS 43k back. No reason to suppose HS were there, no reason to suppose Neanderthals didn't have art.

    No reason to think that H. sapiens weren't there at the time when they were in Italy and Great Britain.

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  3. There have been no finds of Neanderthal art before so Sapiens are the much more likely culprit.

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  4. The surface from that kind of caves are not very stable. So the dating.........

    ReplyDelete

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