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Palaeontology

Early human hunting linked to drawing ability

By T.K. Randall
February 11, 2018 · Comment icon 4 comments



Our ancestors were adept artists. Image Credit: Charles R. Knight
The way our ancestors hunted prey may have given them a significant advantage over the Neanderthals.
Psychologist Richard Coss from the University of California has put forward a theory suggesting that Homo sapiens gained an intellectual advantage over Neanderthals due to the way they hunted prey.

Our ancestors spent thousands of years spear-hunting fast-moving and dangerous game in Africa, whereas the Neanderthals, who lived in Eurasia, were thought to have used thrusting spears to hunt prey that was typically less dangerous and easier to catch.

Coss argues that this would have given Homo sapiens rounder skulls and bigger parietal cortexes - the part of the brain that integrates visual imagery and motor coordination.
This advantage is evidenced by the fact that our ancestors created vivid pieces of art representing animals and other figures on the walls of caves whereas the Neanderthals did not.

"Neanderthals could mentally visualize previously seen animals from working memory, but they were unable to translate those mental images effectively into the coordinated hand-movement patterns required for drawing," Coss wrote.

"Since the act of drawing enhances observational skills, perhaps these drawings were useful for conceptualizing hunts, evaluating game attentiveness, selecting vulnerable body areas as targets, and fostering group cohesiveness via spiritual ceremonies."

Source: Phys.org | Comments (4)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Hammerclaw 6 years ago
Seems like just another attempt to put Neanderthal in his place as something less than modern humans. One could just as well assume he didn't waste artistic effort by hiding it underground. Just as it is assumed that art, deep in caves in the Neanderthal heartland, is the work of modern humans and not Neanderthals. Neanderthal man did, indeed, venture underground and left sign of his presence, there. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/05/the-astonishing-age-of-a-neanderthal-cave-construction-site/484070/
Comment icon #2 Posted by DirtyDocMartens 6 years ago
Yeah, I don't see how smearing pigment on a wall is any harder than making a spear. Or clothes.
Comment icon #3 Posted by I'mConvinced 6 years ago
This. God - Wellthat's man done...what's next.... God - *Rummages in his box of people* God - Ah ha, Neanderthals! Here you go man, now FIGHT TO THE DEATH!
Comment icon #4 Posted by Parsec 6 years ago
So, we can file this "theory" under bullmanure.


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