Researchers claim our ancestors liked abstract art
If you have a penchant for art and can't work out where in your lineage it came from, then you might want to cast your genealogical net a little farther back in time – all the way back to the Neanderthals, in fact.
Researchers from the Gibraltar Museum have been studying unusual crosshatch-type markings on the wall of Gorham's Cave in Gibraltar and they now think they are the result of rock art, meaning our descendants were perhaps more intelligent than we gave them credit for.
Lead investigator Professor Clive Finlayson said it may mean they shared our capacity for and love of abstract expressionism, a major cognitive step in human evolution.
The research is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the team said they don't know if the artwork was for ritual purposes or used as a means of communication.
"It is the last nail in the coffin for the hypothesis that Neanderthals were cognitively inferior to modern humans," said Professor Paul Tacon from Australia's Griffith University, who was not involved with the study.
Previous research has shown that the cave may have been lived in by Neanderthals up to 24,000 years ago, making it one of their final strongholds before their extinction. Perhaps this isolation left them with plenty of time on winter nights to pursue their artistic hobbies.
It has been a busy time for discoveries about past peoples lately – earlier this week, it was reported that the July heatwave resulted in one of the enduring mysteries of Stonehenge being solved.
Caretakers couldn't reach the part where there is a gap with their hosepipes – and the dry ground revealed that more megaliths did indeed once stand there.
If you'd like to try taking a look back in time, you could book an appointment with one of our mediums. They can help you to experience past life regression and see if you were an artistic Neanderthal once.