en-de  Cave Art May Have Been Handiwork Of Neanderthals Medium
Höhlenkunst könnte Handarbeit von Neandertalern gewesen sein.

Gehört auf "All Things Considered" [Alles in Betracht gezogen], National Public Radio, Inc. - 22. Februar 2018.

Von Christopher Joyce - https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/02/22/587662842/cave-art-may-have-been-handiwork-of-neanderthals.

Vor zehntausenden Jahren malten die ersten Künstler Bilder auf Höhlenwände. Sie sammelten, bemalten und bohrten Löcher in Muscheln, vermutlich als Schmuck zu tragen. Es war die allererste Kunst, geschaffen von, was wir "modernen Menschen" nennen oder auch Homo sapiens.

Es sei denn es stellt sich heraus, dass ein Teil der Höhlenkunst von Neandertalern geschaffen wurde, unseren älteren, und, evolutionären Standards zufolge, gescheiterten Cousinen. Jedenfalls behauptet das jetzt ein Forscherteam.

Die bemalten Höhlen wurden in Spanien entdeckt. Die Wände waren die Leinwände, und die Zeichungen sind klar und eindeutig nicht irgendein schmieriger Zufall. Die verwendete Farbe war roter Ocker aus mit Wasser vermischter Erde.

Ein geometrisches Muster sieht aus wie der Teil einer Leiter und bildet Rechtecke. Es gibt Schablonenzeichnungen, bei denen jemand eine Hand an die Wand drückte und dann allem Anschein nach flüssigen Ocker darüber blies. Jemand malte Wirbel aus knallroten Punkten und Flecken auf fließende Behänge aus Stalaktiten, die von den Höhlendecken hängen.

Die meisten dieser Werke sind seit langem bekannt und werden Menschen zugeordnet, die ursprünglich aus Afrika stammen und vermutlich vor etwa 45.000 Jahren in Spanien angekommen sind.

Aber hier ist der Haken. Neue Untersuchungen an Gestein und Kalciumcarbonat, das sich über Teilen des Ockers ausgebildet habt, zeigen, dass sie bereits vor 65.000 Jahren gemalt wurden. Das ist ungefähr 20.000 Jahre, bevor die ersten modernen Menschen dort ankamen.

"Die einzige Spezies, die es um diesen Zeitpunkt herum gab, waren die Neandertaler", erklärt Alistair Pike, ein Archäologe von der University of Southampton in England, der zu dem Team gehörte, das die Arbeit ausführte. "Deshalb müssen die Bilder von ihnen gemacht worden sein."

Pike sagt, dass die ursprüngliche Technik zur Altersbestimmung der Bilder vor Jahrzehnten eingesetzt wurde und nicht sehr verlässlich war. Es wurde ermittelt, wie viel Karbon sich im Gestein befand, was sich als fehleranfällig erwies. So setzten diese Wissenschaftler eine andersartige Technik der Datierung mit Radioisotopen von Uran und Thorium ein. Diese Methode zeigte, dass die Bilder viel älter waren, als erst gedacht. Das hat die herkömmliche Meinung, dass nur der moderne Mensch Kunst geschaffen hat, auf den Kopf gestellt.

"Wir sind überglücklich," sagte Pike. "Wir haben 10 Jahre gebraucht, um zu diesem Punkt zu gelangen."

Man vermutet, dass die Neandertaler in Asien und Europa aus einem gemeinsamen Vorfahren von Mensch und Neandertaler hervorgegangen sind. Ihre Knochen wurden erstmalig im 19. Jahrhundert in Europa entdeckt und sie waren uns körperlich so ähnlich wie irgendein beliebiger menschlicher Verwandter, aber Neandertaler galten als stumpfsinnige und dumme Unterarten des modernen Menschen. Jüngste genetische Hinweise deuten darauf hin, dass sie sich mit modernen Menschen fortpflanzten, die aus Afrika kamen.

Aber, Kunst? Das erfordert abstraktes, sinnbildliches Denken - etwas Reales, wie ein Muster oder eine Landschaft, mit Symbolen nachzuempfinden.

"Wir haben Beispiele für die Verwendung von Pigmenten und für Höhlenmalereien weit außerhalb Europas [in Afrika], und wir haben sie in Europa, bei denen eindeutig erwiesen ist, dass sie von Neandertalern stammen", sagt Dirk Hoffmann, Physiker am Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionäre Anthropologie und Experte für die Datierung der Malereien in Spanien. Er sagt, diese neue Analyse zeige, dass sich die Kunst unabhängig voneinander an beiden Orten entwickelt hat.

Hoffmann weist darauf hin, dass das Anfertigen dieser Bilder Planung, Organisation, vielleicht sogar Sprache erfordert haben könnte, obwohl er einräumt, dass das Spekulation ist.

Und offensichtlich erforderten einige der Bilder eine gründliche Zielstrebigkeit. "Sie liegen eigentlich versteckt," sagt er. "Wenn man sie sehen will, geht man in den tiefsten, dunkelsten Teil der Höhle und man muss sich hinlegen, zur Höhlenwand kriechen und nach oben schauen, und sie befinden sich tatsächlich in kleinen Überhängen an der Decke."

In einer vierten Höhle fanden die Wissenschaftler auch noch eine weitere Anhäufung von Beweisen, die auf Neandertaler hinweisen: bemalte Muscheln, von denen einige mit einem einzigen Loch durchbohrt wurden, vielleicht um eine Schnur zu befestigen. Die Muscheln befanden sich in einer Höhle am Meer und sind etwa 115.000 Jahre alt - viel älter als das erste bekannte Anzeichen für den modernen Menschen in Spanien.

"Ich glaube wir sollten sie als Teil von uns akzeptieren. Sie sind Teil unserer Abstammungslinie, sie sind Menschen, nur eine andere Menschenlinie," sagte Alistair Pike.

Die Ergebnisse werden diese Woche in den Zeitschriften Science und Science Advances veröffentlicht. Whether the scientific community will give Neanderthals final credit depends on whether the latest dating technique holds up to scrutiny. These techniques give a range of possible dates, rather than an exact time. And there was certainly overlap between modern humans and Neanderthals in Europe. If new evidence shows that humans actually arrived earlier than scientists now think, well, that's the pattern of science.
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Cave Art May Have Been Handiwork Of Neanderthals.
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Heard on All Things Considered, National Public Radio, Inc - February 22, 2018.
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Tens of thousands of years ago, the first artists painted images on the walls of caves.
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They collected, painted and ground holes in shells, presumably to wear.
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It was the very first art, created by what we call "modern humans," or Homo sapiens.
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At least, that's what a team of scientists is now claiming.
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The painted caves were discovered in Spain.
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The paint used was red ochre, from soil mixed with water.
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One geometric design looks like part of a ladder, forming rectangles.
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But here's the catch.
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That's about 20,000 years before the first modern humans got there.
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"So, therefore, the paintings must've been made by them."
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It measured how much carbon was in the rock, which is prone to error.
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That technique showed the paintings were much older than first thought.
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That turned the conventional wisdom, that only modern humans made art, on its head.
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"We're over the moon," says Pike.
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"This has taken us 10 years to get to this point."
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Recent genetic evidence indicates that they did breed with modern humans who came over from Africa.
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But, art?
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He says this new analysis shows that art evolved independently in both places.
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And clearly, some of the paintings required hearty determination.
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"They're actually hidden away," he says.
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"I think we should accept them as part of us.
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The results are published this week in the journals Science and Science Advances.
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Cave Art May Have Been Handiwork Of Neanderthals.

Heard on All Things Considered, National Public Radio, Inc - February 22, 2018.

By Christopher Joyce - https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/02/22/587662842/cave-art-may-have-been-handiwork-of-neanderthals.

Tens of thousands of years ago, the first artists painted images on the walls of caves. They collected, painted and ground holes in shells, presumably to wear. It was the very first art, created by what we call "modern humans," or Homo sapiens.

Except, it turns out that some of that cave art may have been created by Neanderthals — our ancient and, by evolutionary standards, failed cousins. At least, that's what a team of scientists is now claiming.

The painted caves were discovered in Spain. The walls were the canvasses, and the paintings are bold and clearly not some kind of smeary accident. The paint used was red ochre, from soil mixed with water.

One geometric design looks like part of a ladder, forming rectangles. There are stencils where someone pressed a hand up against the wall and then apparently blew liquid ochre over it. Someone painted swirls of bright red dots and patches onto flowing curtains of stalactites that hang from the cave ceilings.

Most of this work has long been known and attributed to humans, who originally came from Africa and are believed to have arrived in Spain about 45,000 years ago.

But here's the catch. New tests on the rock and calcium carbonate that formed over parts of the ochre show that they were painted 65,000 years ago. That's about 20,000 years before the first modern humans got there.

"The only species that were around at that time were Neanderthals," explains Alistair Pike, an archaeologist from the University of Southampton in England who was part of the team that did the work. "So, therefore, the paintings must've been made by them."

Pike says the original technique to determine the age of the paintings was used decades ago and wasn't very reliable. It measured how much carbon was in the rock, which is prone to error. So these scientists employed a different dating technique using radioisotopes of uranium and thorium. That technique showed the paintings were much older than first thought. That turned the conventional wisdom, that only modern humans made art, on its head.

"We're over the moon," says Pike. "This has taken us 10 years to get to this point."

Neanderthals are thought to have evolved in Asia and Europe from a common ancestor of humans and Neanderthals. Their bones were first discovered in Europe in the 19th century and they were as close to us physically as any known human relative, but Neanderthals were thought to have been brutish and stupid subspecies of modern humans. Recent genetic evidence indicates that they did breed with modern humans who came over from Africa.

But, art? That requires abstract, symbolic thinking — recreating something real, like a pattern or a landscape, with symbols.

"We have examples of pigment use and cave paintings way outside of Europe [in Africa], and we have them in Europe, clearly demonstrated to be of Neanderthal origin," says Dirk Hoffmann, a physicist with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and an expert on the dating on the paintings in Spain. He says this new analysis shows that art evolved independently in both places.

Hoffmann suggests that making these paintings may well have required planning, organization, perhaps even language, though he acknowledges that's speculation.

And clearly, some of the paintings required hearty determination. "They're actually hidden away," he says. "If you want to see them you walk into the deepest, darkest part of the cave and you actually have to lie down and crawl to the cave wall and look up, and they're actually on the ceiling in little overhangs."

In a fourth cave, the scientists also found another pile of evidence pointing to Neanderthals: painted shells, some with a single hole drilled through them, perhaps to accommodate a string. The shells lay in a seaside cave and date back about 115,000 years — far earlier than the first known sign of modern humans in Spain.

"I think we should accept them as part of us. They are part of our lineage, they are human, they're just a different human population," says Alistair Pike.

The results are published this week in the journals Science and Science Advances. Whether the scientific community will give Neanderthals final credit depends on whether the latest dating technique holds up to scrutiny. These techniques give a range of possible dates, rather than an exact time. And there was certainly overlap between modern humans and Neanderthals in Europe. If new evidence shows that humans actually arrived earlier than scientists now think, well, that's the pattern of science.