What can Stone Age art tell us about extinct animals?

What can Stone Age art tell us about extinct animals?



hello there guys and welcome back to another trade that explainer video and today I'd like to take some time to talk about cave paintings and other examples of stone age aren't cave paintings for most probably don't even need an introduction the beautiful illustrations made by early homo sapiens and maybe some by Neanderthals edged on the walls of countless subterranean abodes throughout Eurasia Africa and Australia are renowned and pretty much make up the quintessential stereotype caveman image in addition to these cave paintings archeologists have uncovered countless figurines and sculptures made at stone clay and other materials carved by the hands and fingers of our early ancestors this kind of artwork has always fascinated me for some reason and I think they create a similar feeling and many other people I think there's just something magical and awe-inspiring to comprehend that someone an actual person long dead and their names forgotten drew or shaped this they took it upon themselves to tell us what they saw why they drew this with fingers painted red and sticks tipped with charcoal because they wanted somebody else to see it to see what they saw to share their world and this message between the Aeons has been transmitted to you and me the two of us will never know one another in the slightest but we can communicate nonetheless this is what culture is and I think it's the very essence of being human and when gazing at these kind of illustrations and carvings one Ponder's what was the world of these people like what did they see what did they believe in fortunately our work produced by these people can tell us some of this information and today I'd like to talk about what we can possibly learn about prehistory from Paleolithic artwork extinct animals depictions of animals are probably the most common that appear in Stone Age art one can find hundreds of sketches of beasts which appear to dance along the walls of caves like less coal and Chauvet the most common depictions are of horses in Oryx there are literally hundreds if not thousands of depictions of these animals but littered between them are those of mammoths woolly rhinos Irish elk and so on it is no surprise to find out that this kind of artwork is especially helpful to paleontologists as it gives us the closest look we will ever get had seen some of these animals in the flesh some cave art can actually tell us a lot we wouldn't be able to know otherwise having depictions made from contemporary eyewitnesses has helped give insight into the truth about many extinct animals fact most famously the dodo bird of Mauritius this flightless island dwelling pigeon became extinct in the 1600s long before photography and after it was bludgeon – eaten and starved into extinction it left no complete specimens for scientists to examine much of what we know about the Dodos behavior incomplete external appearance such as posture and coloration is surprisingly a mystery scientists have had to mainly use the scattered and often contradictory descriptions and illustrations made by those who saw them in life the few that there were by the 1800s scientists pieced together from European paintings and sketches that the dodo was clumsy and fat with a plump body on squat legs however scientists have since recognized that this image of the dodo appears to be inaccurate these depictions appear to have made referencing crudely stuffed models of the bird or overly fed caged specimens as opposed to the wild and natural birds many depictions appear to merely be copied versions of prior illustrations and not wholly original the famous Edwards dodo painting for century served as the most iconic reconstruction of the bird and was blindly copied by countless artists to the point that this image is what most people think of when they hear the dodo bird in the 1950s however a painting was discovered in st. Petersburg it was unsigned and how I ended up in Russia is a bit of a mystery but one thing is clear it was created in the 17th century and depicts a dodo bird in its center flanked on its sides by Indian birds the art style is fairly clearly characteristic of a certain Mughal Court artist by the name of Luce Todd Mansur who loved to paint illustrations of plants and animals his ability to accurately depict the organisms he saw was exceptional so it raised a few eyebrows when his depiction of what appears to be a dodo bird differs greatly from the more traditional view his dodo is slimmer holds itself more upright and is covered in grayish brown coloration all the neighboring birds possess the appropriate colors and shape as they do in life and an English traveller Peter Mundy described the Mughal Emperor at the time possessed a pair of Dodos in his menagerie as pets it appears Mansur based his depiction up of a living breathing animal and subsequent research showed that his image accurately matches the little skeletal evidence we have in some of the first depictions of the dodo bird made from life as an upright walking in slimmer bird just like that it appears a single illustration changed our perception of an extinct animal forever perhaps artwork made by prehistoric Cubans could similarly shed some light on extinct animals well let's go down the list and see what extinct animals we likely have depictions of and see if any can actually tell us anything horses and Oryx well as stated before the overwhelmingly most common in depictions of animals and stone-age artwork are those of horses and Oryx and although these animals aren't necessarily extinct as the descendants of horses and Oryx do in fact survive today as our domesticated stallions and cows their ancient prehistoric relatives appear to be vastly different the Oryx was the wild ancestor to countless breeds of cattle we have today from their bones we can tell that these wild cows were massive and there once were thousands of them widely spread throughout Europe and Asia during the Paleolithic our ancestors appear to have encountered them a great deal in prehistory but unlike some of the other animals on this list the wild aurochs survived for a great deal of time after these paintings were made and were often described as living just beyond the edge of civilization Julius Caesar describes his encounters with them during the Gallic wars stating they were a little below the elephant in size and their strength and speed was extraordinary the Oryx was often hunted for its enormous horns and hide and by the 13th century they only existed in isolated regions in Eastern Europe the lands they lived on became prized and were often served as the restricted hunting grounds from nobles and royalty eventually they became so rare that the hunting ceased and it was a crime punishable by death to kill an Oryx but even so the damage appears to have already been done in by 1627 the last Oryx died in Poland leaving only ornamental gold encrusted horns to collect dust in the palaces of kings their extinction was probably due to a combination of hunting habitat destruction and disease from their domesticated counterparts even with their relatively recent extinction it might be a surprise to learn that these cave paintings are pretty much the only depictions of oryxes made from life that have survived over the centuries besides those of La Scala Chauvet and others we have an engraving by Sigma and Vaughn urban Stein historian and diplomat of the Holy Roman Empire published in a book in 1556 which has an inscription that reads I am Oris poor in polish or rocks in German the ignorant ones have given me the name of bison and a copy of an older painting by Charles Hamilton Smith which appears to Bigha cattle or ox hybrid the wild horse has a similar to the rocks they were once very widely spread throughout Eurasia but we're domesticated and altered greatly from the wild ancestors as I've discussed already in 10,000 BCE cave art reveals that these wild horses were much shorter and stockier than those of today and likely resembled a pers Wolski's horse in body and shape and signs our ancestors gave these horses a wide range of colors and patterns from Bey colored horses to spotted almost leopard pattern horses and surprisingly even the most absurd of these colors and the paintings are in fact accurate in accordance to the scientific evidence taken from the DNA of Prius or coarse bones at Cain berry cave in Spain possesses some of the most interesting horse colors these horses have a strange M shaped line across their sides of their midsections and have striped almost zebra like necks and legs this coloration hasn't been confirmed by DNA evidence but the colors are petitioned throughout the cave seems to lend credence to some Ice Age horses possessing it Mamet's it goes without saying that the woolly mammoth is a common subject in paleo artwork perhaps the cave which offers the most depictions is the roof of NAP cave this cave is home to 158 mammoth depictions which represents around 70% of all the animal representations in the cave my favourites is this one in shava with massive toe pads and this one with a decorative spear thrower in the shape of a mammoth a lot of these illustrations are incredibly detailed and accurate to what we know about mammoths from their mummies and fossils interestingly in some illustrations it appears the artist highlights some areas on the mammoth in particular near the shoulder a point which appears to have been a common area for spear heads to pierce it seems like early humans might have used cave paintings as an educational tool in addition to artistic tools woolly rhinos whose closest living relatives are the Sumatran rhinos and I can't see why aren't depicted in cave art as commonly as mammoths or oxen horses up until 1994 only about 20 depictions existed this all changed when the shaba cave was discovered which added around 60 new images the Rhinos in travail are in a variety of poses and appear to show coloration some appear to depict battles and clashes between winos no different than those of modern-day Africa these Chauvet woolly rhinos might be able to tell us a little bit about their coloration many have darker colored fur with a single dark band or belt across their belly between their fore and hind limbs it's unclear if this is a representation of the animals actual coloration or if this is like some of those highly areas on the Mamet's as a symbolic or simply artistic liberty such a coloration is rare in the animal kingdom but who knows maybe massive hairy rhinos with dark belts around their waists roamed prehistoric france the Irish elk or Megalosaurus was a truly awe-inspiring animal as the largest deer to ever existed it stood a towering two metres at the shoulder but what was probably most impressive was the male's ridiculous and I mean ridiculous antlers the largest of any deer spanning just as wide as the animal as tall I would love to just have been able to see a single male striding across a nice aged Prairie cave artists captured the majesty of this animal in particular unless call by exaggerating the horns a bit making them look a lot like gnarled branches cave art of the Irish elk both male and female appears to support the idea that they produced a single dark-colored hump on their shoulders much like that of a mammoth something not preserved in any fossils Europe a long time ago used to be as rich with wildlife as the African savanna of today but just like many ecosystems many of this rich wildlife is gone now during the Ice Age Europe was home to big cats and hyenas who stalked endless herds of horses deer and cattle probably the most famous of these was the cave lion the average individual stood about 1.2 meters at the shoulder and would easily be as large as the largest known modern Lions Chauvet has offered some of the most detailed depictions of cave lions in a full-body sketch appears to show a male and a female in profile one is larger than the other and has a definite scrotum while the other is smaller and lacks this feature this illustration has given support to the idea that male cave lions unlike their African relatives did not possess a Mane or at least had a less to find one cave lion seem to have served a ritualistic or religious significance for our ancestors the oldest depiction of any animal by a human is a lion headed humanoid the Louvre and mint figurine is day to be about 35 to 40 thousand years old and was carved out of a mammoth ivory it appears the lion headed man is one of the first human animal hybrids and cave art and certainly not the last this pretty much concludes all the definite and commonly accepted extinct animals in cave are but I will reference some of the lesser-known in somewhat disputed ones just to clarify it is uncertain if these depictions are in fact representation of these animals or not we just don't know an original rock art is said to depict a great deal of now extinct megafauna of Australia that these people must have been countered the thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger is commonly accepted to appear in rock art the only recently extinct marsupial once existed in mainland Australian but unfortunately became extinct but there before Europeans even arrived this is said to be a depiction of the marsupial lion a carnivorous relative to the Koala and wombat which appears to have evolved from a herbivorous ancestor and Counting birds bizarre teeth which instead of evolving from canines like most mammals evolved from molars into slicing chompers if this actually is a marsupial line is up for debate as some have noted this could easily be a depiction of a finalist named if this actually is a marsupial lion it seems more fitting to call the marsupial tiger this is said to possibly be a depiction of a net proto Don Australia's marsupial answer to the cow or hippo these car-sized marsupials were part of the same family as the marsupial lion being close relatives to the modern-day wombats a 40,000 year old rock or painting might depict the giant Australian fowl relative Ginny ortus which likely coexisted with early Australians however again some scientists have given alternative suggestions such as the emu or other Australian bird species this illustration is said to be of the trunk marsupial tapir but I really don't see it and like many of these paintings their vagueness really doesn't help us with their identification sadly meg Alania see I finally said it this was a paleo profile meg Alania all along is completely absent in Aboriginal art I know I know it sucks this sketch of a large single horn rhinoceros has been suggested to be the only known depiction of elasmotherium if true this would lend credence to the late survival and much larger extent in Western Europe similarly a depiction of a straight test elephant in El Castillo cave in Spain might suggest paleo locks ona might have existed in the region as I've already discussed this now lost figurine of a big cat might be the only known depiction of a saber-toothed cat ever made by a human particularly of home etherium and it might give credence to the theory that saber-toothed cats actually had big fleshy lips covering their canines making them far more ridiculous looking in addition to these creatures there are a few as of yet unidentified and mythical ones that appear in cave artwork the so called unicorn of La Scala appears to be a bulky spotted and horned creature its identity is unclear but I can probably say it isn't a unicorn rather strangely humans are almost entirely absent in Stone Age cave art one can wander throughout the entirety of these caves gazing at an entire two-dimensional Zoo but never find even the slightest hint of a human painting on the rocks why we don't know exactly many of the few vaguely human depictions are that of human-animal hybrids La Scala is home to a few of these chimeric human and animal hybrids in particular a bird headed man in a Minotaur the Cave of the three brothers made around 13,000 BCE is home to the famous sorcerer image wait a second what unfortunately this famous sketch of the sorcerer made in the 1900s doesn't accurately reflect the real sorcerer illustration the original painting is far more simplistic and many elements like the antlers in the sketch are missing Java has only one depiction of a human in the entirety of the cave a single naked woman's lower half with a bull caressing it in fact depictions of the lower halves of women specifically centered on the private area are exceptionally common throughout early artwork and are very very widely spread would have been dubbed the Venus's after the female Roman goddess seams have had an important but as of yet mysterious and unknown purpose tor ancestors are the representations of a fertility goddess or divine mother creation deity of some kind are they merely portraits of real or fictional people created as decoration are they a primitive form of pornography the feminine contour serving as a sexual stimulant for Stone Age teens we don't know and we probably will never know the Venus's often lack heads or faces so they're important seems to be entirely focused on the hips waist and breasts of the woman and they often have plump exaggerated features and yes I'm going to say it because I know people will make sure they say it if I don't they pretty much fit the modern description of thick and I mean thick with to seize the three thousand-year-old masks of la roche code art is said to be the oldest depiction of a human face depicting two eyes and a nose it's aged my suggestion wasn't made by Homo Sapien hands at all but Neanderthal ones this 27 thousand year old itching is said to also be an ancient and rudimentary portrait of a human face other notable human depictions include the detailed Adam of Macedonia a over seven thousand year old sculpture showing ribs belly button other features and the Ansari lovers and eleven thousand year old carving found near Bethlehem the oldest depiction of to humans engaged intercourse and yeah that's about all I can say about the Stone Age artwork for now what I find really fascinating and I'll leave on this note is how recently some of these works were discovered Mashav a cave which is home to a large portion of these depictions and no doubt the most detailed and insightful was left sealed and untouched the walls collecting dust and the paintings fading for thirty thousand years and was only discovered in 1994 by complete accident when a few Splunk errs felt a faint – air current deep within the earth the images on the walls of the cave sat in the dark waiting patiently to greet the next eyes to see it for tens of thousands of years almost the entirety of all known human history from the vention of Agriculture to the triumphs of Alexander the Great to the ratings of the Vikings the bloodiest battles of the first boat war all happened the caves existence none the wiser civilizations rose and faded without knowing the beautiful gallery that existed below their feet one questions if other caves filled with just as beautiful and insightful works exists below our own very feet who knows what types of things are yet to be discovered waiting patiently in the dark what mysteries are left to solve and simply to find and thanks for watching I hope you enjoyed this video I had a lot of fun learning about artwork and prehistoric humans and I'd be happy to talk more about human stuff in the future alright next video is definitely going to be a cryptid profile or a paleo profile because I haven't done those in a very long time sorry for the long wait on this one it's just very hectic right now and I hope you guys understand All Right see ya soft and warm shall touch my face bed of straw against the lace we believed we'd catch the rainbow

27 Comments

  • Wolf 6722 says:

    It is kind of beautiful how humans are absent in all paintings. It shows how ancient humans really admired all the spectacular animals, even the ones they had to kill for food, still were respected. Now days we have become more narcissistic forgetting where we came from and that these lands are their home as well

  • Mr Satan Jr says:

    they were DUMMY thicc

  • Joshua Ingram says:

    Nice work man. We need peeps to steer thought properly.

  • Av63PNT0 says:

    Amazing the world has endless mysteries and things to be discovered

  • Cypheri says:

    7:17 The "M-shaped" pattern is clearly pangare (also called "mealy" in modern horses) and the striped legs are accurate to wild-type horse coloration, notably the primitive markings caused by the dun gene. I respect what you do here, but sometimes you seriously miss very easy research. Any two-minute google search about primitive horse markings would have told you both of these things.

  • jose roberto portillo escoto says:

    I really liked the closing speech. It was really inspiring

  • Bestcool5 says:

    Fat long necked hook beaked little armed birb

    Cute

  • Bilimin Sırları says:

    10:40 Behold!The first furry!

  • Ismael Macias says:

    All I gotta say is God damn

  • Dragon cat says:

    Caveman chid: draws pictures on walls with his/her family
    Me as a child: draws on the wall and gets grounded and told that my art sucks by my older brother

    Wow, how the times change😒

  • Magic Pigeon says:

    Stupid humans killing everything

  • Lurking Crass Zero says:

    Maybe the lack of human depictions indicates a lack of self awareness and/or ego. The ego is something of our own creation. When did humans create this imaginary. monster in our heads?

  • Eric Staley says:

    this is the 2nd video I've watched of your channel, and I'm already in the mood to subscribe

  • Colin Cnote says:

    T H I C C

  • DeepFriedMarsBar says:

    13:02 I gotta have a good meal Jon

  • svon1 says:

    kinda reminds me of the undergrounds of Rome

  • Paul Hoffmann says:

    voice too choppy to understand

  • 19Edurne says:

    If you could only speak slower… I give up. It's exhausting to listen to… Which is too bad because the subject is interesting. Alas, you're not the only one ruining vids on YT by being rushy… Breathe! Take your time explaining. Go listen to vids by Obsolete Oddity: here is someone who knows how to speak to his listeners.

  • AliasUndercover says:

    "Lower parts of women" "widely spread" LOL!

  • S Benson says:

    The “M-shaped line” horses look like a white splash mutation over the dun dilution (which looks like it is over black, which makes it a grullo). Those 2 color patterns are seen in the Paint and Quarter Horses of the US, and I’m sure there’s one with both running around somewhere that looks exactly like that.

  • Generic Name says:

    What if the figurines of the women are also educational tools. And since they're 'thicc' they kind of resemble the effects of pregnancy. Perhaps they were teaching girls about their bodies during pregnancy

  • Mindroamer Theta says:

    are the venuses just porn or did they worship vulvas

  • Thomas Fundgrube says:

    What can Stone Age art tell us about extraterrestrial visitation?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwPoU9g6Mys

  • Michael Lowry says:

    Is that Japanese music?
    Bizarre! Also to much coffee dude

  • Patron Saint Of Poison says:

    I believe I was a cave artist in a past life, and my tribe didn't understand why I couldn't stop making marks on the walls, then they saw that I was reproducing things that I saw, and we all set to drawing things that we saw (and nobody said "I can't draw"), so then I started drawing things I had never seen

  • Kenny Simpson says:

    migratory species communicating resources found in what area prehistoric shopping list if you like

  • mystisme says:

    good work,but do not forget that horses and camel are from north america

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *