en-es  Cave Art May Have Been Handiwork Of Neanderthals
El arte rupestre puede haber sido obra de los neandertales.

Escucho en "All Things Considered" [Todas las cosas consideradas], National Public Radio, Inc - 22 de febrero de 2018.

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

Hace decenas de miles de años, los primeros artistas pintaron imágenes en los muros de las cuevas. Ellos recogían, pintaban y perforaban agujeros en conchas, probablemente para llevarlas puestas. Fue el primerísimo arte, creado por los que llamamos "humanos modernos" u Homo sapiens.

A excepción, en cambio, que algunas de esas pinturas rupestres puedan haber sido creadas por neandertales-- nuestros antiguos y, por estandáres evolutivos, primos fallidos. Al menos, esto es lo que un equipo de científicos afirma actualmente.

Las cuevas con pinturas fueron descubiertas en España. Las paredes eran los lienzos y las pinturas eran audaces y obviamente ningún tipo de manchas accidentales. La pintura usada era almagre, a partir de tierra mezclada con agua.

Un dibujo geométrico parece parte de una escalera, formando rectángulos. Hay estarcidos donde alguien presionó una mano contra la pared y entonces aparentemente sopló ocre líquido sobre ella. Alguien pintó espirales de brillantes puntos rojos y manchas en las fluidas cortinas de estalactitas que cuelgan del techo de la cueva.

La mayoría de estas obras se conocen desde hace mucho y se atribuyen a los humanos, que originariamente vinieron desde África y se cree que llegaron a España hace unos 45 000 años aproximadamente.

Pero aquí está la trampa. Los análisis actuales de la roca y el carbonato cálcico que se formó sobre partes del ocre muestran que fueron pintadas hace 65 000 años Eso es sobre 20 000 años antes que los humanos modernos llegaran allí.

"Las únicas especies que estaban por allí en ese tiempo eran los neandertales", explica Alistair Pike, un arqueólogo de la Universidad de Southampton en Inglaterra que forma parte del equipo que hizo el estudio. "Así, por lo tanto, las pinturas deben haber sido realizadas por ellos".

Pike dice que la técnica primitiva para determinar la edad de las pinturas se utilizó hace décadas, y no era muy fiable. Se calculó cuánto carbono había en la roca, lo que es propenso a error. Así que estos científicos emplearon una técnica de datación diferente usando radioisótopos de uranio y torio. Esta técnica mostró que las pinturas eran mucho más antiguas que lo que se había pensado en un principio. Eso cambió la idea convencional, que solo los humanos modernos hicieron arte, en sus cabezas.

"Estamos emocionados", dice Pike. "Nos ha llevado 10 años llegar a este punto".

Se pensaba que los neandertales habían evolucionado en Asia y Europa a partir de un antecesor común de humanos y neandertales Sus huesos se descubrieron primero en Europa en el siglo XIX y eran físicamente tan próximos a nosotros como ningún otro pariente humano conocido, pero se pensó que los neandertales habían sido subespecies brutas y estupidas de los humanos modernos. La genética reciente indica que se criaron con los humanos que vinieron aquí desde África.

Pero, ¿arte? Eso requiere un pensamiento abstracto y simbólico -- recrear algo real, como un modelo o un paisaje, con símbolos.

"Tenemos ejemplos del uso de pigmentos y pinturas rupestres fuera de Europa [en África], y los tenemos en Europa, demostrando claramente que son de origen neandertal", dice Dirk Hoffmann, físico de Antropología Evolutiva del Instituto Max Planck y un experto en la datación de las pinturas en España. Dice que este nuevo análisis demuestra que el arte evolucionó independientemente en ambos lugares.

Hoffmann sugiere que hacer estas pinturas bien podría haber requerido planificación, organización, quizás incluso el lenguaje, aunque reconoce que eso es especulación.

Y, claramente, algunas de las pinturas requirieron una gran determinación. "En realidad están escondidas", dice. "Si quieres verlas, entras en la parte más profunda y oscura de la cueva y en realidad tienes que tumbarte y arrastrarte hasta la pared de la cueva y mirar hacia arriba, en realidad están en el techo en pequeños salientes".

En una cuarta cueva, los científicos encontraron también un montón de pruebas que apuntan hacia los neandertales: conchas pintadas, algunas con un único agujero perforado a su través, tal vez para ser ensartadas en una cuerda. Las conchas estaban en una cueva a la orilla del mar y datan de hace 115 000 años aproximadamente, mucho antes que el primer signo conocido de humanos modernos en España.

"Pienso que deberíamos aceptarlos como parte de nosotros. Son parte de nuestro linaje, son humanos, son sencillamente una población humana diferente ", dice Alistair Pike.

Los resultados están publicados esta semana en las revistas Science y Science Advances. El que la comunidad científica vaya a dar crédito finalmente a los neandertales depende de si la últimas técnicas de datación resisten un examen detenido. Esas técnicas dan un rango de fechas posibles más que un tiempo exacto. Ciertamiente había una superposición entre los humanos modernos y los Neandertales en Europa. Si las nuevas evidencias muestran que los humanos llegaron de hecho antes de lo que los cientificos piensan ahora, bueno, eso es el patrón de la ciencia.
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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.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 8 months, 3 weeks ago
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Tens of thousands of years ago, the first artists painted images on the walls of caves.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 8 months, 3 weeks ago
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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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These techniques give a range of possible dates, rather than an exact time.
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And there was certainly overlap between modern humans and Neanderthals in Europe.
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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.