The Evolution of Human Art and Culture
The earliest ornamental beads. About 75,000 years old, from Blombos cave in South Africa; some of them are stained with ochre. The paper is in Science, 2004.
What makes humans truly human? Could it be (gasp!)... display? (Remember the origin of birds?)
Cave paintings and carvings.
Claim that cave paintings include star maps, in other words, that these ancient peoples were competent astronomers.. Story from BBC News OnLine, August 9, 2000.
And a follow-up claim: that Cromagnon people painted the earliest known lunar calendar on the walls of Lascaux cave. From BBC News OnLine, October 16, 2000.
The painted caves of Lascaux, the French government site (text in English).
The cave at Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc, also in France, but a lot older than Lascaux.
Images from Chauvet cave
A cave in Italy has paintings that may be even older, over 32,000 years. BBC News OnLine, November 2000.
30,000-year-old ivory figurines carved by CroMagnons, discovered in Germany. The paper was published in Nature, December 2003. The bird, by the way, is a GOOSE!! Remember, you read it here first!
Body Hair and Clothing
When did humans lose body hair, and why? (And what skin color did they have at that point?) When did people begin to wear clothes routinely? BBC News OnLine, September 29, 2003. What you do is ask our lice: head lice and body lice have had time to diverge ecologically. The tentative answer is about 70,000 years ago. What?? Adam and Eve were created with LICE???
Links last checked October 5, 2005.
Page last updated, October 5, 2005.
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