Cavemen Were Much Better At Illustrating Animals Than Artists Today
If this is your impression of prehistoric humans, a new study published today in PLOS ONE by researchers from Eotvos University in Budapest, Hungary, might surprise you. In analyzing dozens of examples of cave art from places such as Lascaux, the group, led by Gabor Horvath, determined that prehistoric artists were actually better at accurately depicting the way four-legged animals walk than artists from the 19th and 20th centuries.
The researchers evaluated the prehistoric artists on the basis of the landmark 1880s finding by British photographer Eadweard Muybridge that horses (and, it was later discovered, most four-legged animals) move their legs in a particular sequence as they walk. The “foot-fall formula,” as it’s called, goes LH-LF-RH-RF, where H means ‘hind,’ F means ‘fore,’ and L and R mean ‘left’ and ‘right,’ respectively. At the time of Muybridge, this was thought to be an entirely novel discovery.
Except, as it turns out, prehistoric people apparently knew it too—and got it right in their drawings the majority of the time. 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 53.8%. Due to the number of combinations of how a four-legged animal’s gait can be depicted, the researchers state that mere chance would lead to a 26.7% rate of getting it right. Cavemen artists knew what they were doing.
Sources and more information:
Discovery News Human News Cavemen Trump Modern Artists at Animal Drawing Cavemen Trump Modern Artists at Animal Drawing Tweet By Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Paleolithic people living more than 10,000 years ago had a better artistic eye than modern painters and sculptures - at least when it came to watching how horses and other four-legged...
( via blogs.smithsonianmag.com )
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