Thursday, February 12, 2009
Cave Art - Evolution of Art? (It's Darwin Day!)
Cave Painting, Lascaux, France
Cave paintings, 30,000 years old, possibly older. When people in caves drew these beasts, modern humans had been around for around 200,000 years. Presumably, art had as well. But why? Why do we do art? Elephants and chimps wielding paint brushes notwithstanding, humans are the only species to devote time and resources doing such a thing. Is art the peacock's tail? Did women decide men who were artists were sexier, and mate with them more often? The book The Nature of Paleolithic Art, by R. Dale Guthrie gives from fascinating insights into the origins of paleolithic art. Guthrie is not only a scientist but also an artist and a hunter, and so has a background well suited to shedding light on this fascinating question.