Friday, 14 March 2014

Did Cavemen Invent the Cinema?

A bison in the cave of Altamira. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

We would probably not associate cavemen with moving pictures but that is exactly what an article in New Scientist does. Its title – Prehistoric cinema: A silver screen on the cave wall – already suggests that cave paintings are more sophisticated than we assumed.

It seems that seen in their original light, they provide quite a surprise:

“Catch them at dawn or dusk and you are in for a treat as the figures jump out at the viewer, rendered in 3D by the shadows of the etched grooves in the rock. The effect recalls the techniques used to create the illusion of depth in trompe l'oeil paintings,” says Frederick Baker, an archaeologist at the St Pölten University of Applied Sciences in Austria.

And just a few years ago we were taught that cavemen were simpletons. As more facts are discovered, Darwinian dogma is becoming less and less convincing.

Of course, the Genesis based model stated that humans were clever from the very beginning.


Brahic, Catherine. 2012. Prehistoric cinema: A silver screen on the cave wall. New Scientist 2896, 44–46.