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Lions in the Ice Age

18 January 2011

William Burroughs in Climate Change in Prehistory (Cambridge University Press: 2005) describes some cave paintings at Chauvet drawn with charcoal and of unusually clear draughtsmanship. They depict animals that the artist(s) saw in the habitat around them and surprisingly they are of species more common in a warm world – such as a pride of lions. Quite apart from the material used to execute them it is the fact they depict species more suited to a savannal environment than the edge of a massive ice sheet. The charcoal has been C14 dated to a time before 30,000 years ago – in 1994. So what were lions doing in France at that time?

Meanhwhile, at www.physorg.com/print214470518.html we learn that Neanderthals were not adapted to the cold and so they would not have been found at the edge of the ice sheet either. Clive Finlayson, in The Humans that went extinct (2009), claimed Neanderthals occupied a savannah habitat that extended from the extremes of western Europe to Siberia, just the kind of environment in which lions would have lived as well. It is assumed Neanderthals died out around 30,000 years – reasons unknown, and modern humans occupied France from 40,000 years ago.

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