Do Neolithic cave paintings depict comet impacts ? Image Credit: NASA
Early human cave paintings dating back thousands of years could depict more than just hunting scenes.
In a new study, researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Kent conducted a detailed analysis and comparison of Neolithic cave paintings found at sites all across the world.
Their findings indicated that, far from depicting simple hunting scenes, these images - which include animals such as bulls and lions - may in fact be references to the signs of the zodiac.
This in turn suggests that the people of the time kept a keen eye on the heavens.
"Early cave art shows that people had advanced knowledge of the night sky within the last Ice Age," said co-author Martin Sweatman, a chemical engineer from the University of Edinburgh.
Some cave paintings, such as those at Lascaux in France, could even depict major cataclysmic events that were thought to have occurred during the last Ice Age.
Such depictions are not unheard of; recently decoded stone carvings at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey are thought to refer to a major comet strike that occurred 13,000 years ago.
It is possible that other Neolithic art pieces could similarly reference significant events in history.
"These findings support a theory of multiple comet impacts over the course of human development, and will probably revolutionise how prehistoric populations are seen," said Sweatman.
Source: Science Alert | Comments (14)