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Cavemen excelled at drawing animals


Posted on Saturday, 8 December, 2012 | Comment icon 20 comments | News tip by: Still Waters


Image credit: Xabier Eskisabel

 
Early cave-dwellers were better able to depict animals in drawings than their modern counterparts.

The findings are based on a study conducted at the Eotvos University in Budapest, Hungary. Researchers compared numerous cave paintings against findings from the 1880s pertaining to the way in which four-legged animals walked. What they found was that early cave paintings depicted the correct gait far more than depictions of four-legged animals from the Renaissance and beyond. Even Leonardo Da Vinci's sketch of a horse seemed to have gotten it wrong.

The researchers concluded that their penchant for accurate observations may have been driven by survival - early man needed to master the way in which animals moved and behaved in order to hunt them whereas in modern times this would not have been as important.

"Of the 39 ancient cave paintings depicting the motion of four-legged animals that were considered in the study, 21 nailed the sequence correctly, a success rate of 53."

  View: Full article |  Source: Smithsonian

  Discuss: View comments (20)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by DieChecker on 9 December, 2012, 5:12
Unlike modern artists, the ancient artists studied their subjects first???
Comment icon #12 Posted by Eldorado on 9 December, 2012, 6:23
Or maybe scientists know diddly squat about art.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Jinxdom on 9 December, 2012, 9:23
It's easier to easier to get the message across when the idea is simple. Cavemen were a simpler people then we are. That's all. It's easier to draw a horse when your not worrying about everything involved in drawing a horse. I think about the fur for instance my horse drawing starts looking less like a horse and more like the red furry creature(Gossamer I think it's name is) that Bug Bunny faced(Doesn't help I can't draw for crap but that's beside the point ). Nowadays we over complicate things.
Comment icon #14 Posted by King Fluffs on 9 December, 2012, 11:27
Nice article.
Comment icon #15 Posted by SameerPrehistorica on 9 December, 2012, 16:52
Very interesting..
Comment icon #16 Posted by HuntrSThompsun on 9 December, 2012, 21:35
Pffft, I can draw better than that.. counterparts? whatever..
Comment icon #17 Posted by Pinguin on 12 December, 2012, 7:33
Maybe it wasn't the cavemen who painted these, but rather aliens.Just kidding. This is pretty cool. I think it would be very interesting to see a caveman paint. How would he/she start? Would they take a long time to paint them? And what would they do once they finished? Some of these cave painting were done deep in caves, deep where light was provided only by fire. Imagine trying to paint using fire as your only source of light. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Mikami on 19 December, 2012, 18:57
hmmmm modern counterparts? so we have modern day cavemen? hmmm sounds about right
Comment icon #19 Posted by ad hoc on 28 December, 2012, 20:54
putting Leonardo aside, it's probably generally true, rennaissance artists priorites were totally elsewhere. Something that always intrigues me about those animal cave paintings is that, although they're kinda naive, they aren't naive in any of the ways that unskilled art in the AD era tend to look naive. Like, the tendency to turn body shapes into blobs and potatoes isn't there. But instead they contain lots of actual information on contours, and there's a sureness and confidence in the lines. It's just out of proportion in childlike ways. A weird combination of sophis... [More]


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