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Dumb Neanderthals

11 February 2018

At https://anthropology.net/2018/02/10/richard-coss-argues-neanderthals-did… …. Richard Coss, described as a professor emeritus of psychology, questions why there is no Neanderthal cave art in the archaeological record. He seems to skip the obvious answer – it hasn't been found yet, the blog author says. Coss jumps to the conclusion that modern humans have a superior kind of eye and limb co-ordination. It turns out Coss has taught art as well as psychology – so he should know something about the subject. He has also researched art and human evolution – but the blog author  thinks he is old school. One cannot deny he knows a lot about the subject – but is all cave art solidly attributed to modern humans? For example, he has been very interested in the art of the Chauvet cave which pictures a wonderful savannah environment with lions and other animals now confined to Africa. He says the visual imagery employed in drawing all those sweeping lines regulates arm movement in a manner similar to how hunters visualise the arc their spears must make to hit their animal targets. The blog authro is unimpressed. He says the argument is riddled with unfounded assumptions, one of which is that modern humans were more intelligent than Neanderthals. He says there is plenty of evidence to show they were intelligent and they were also capable of modifying their environment. He also thinks some of the cave art was actually made by Neanderthals.

However, neither proponent or critic take into account catastrophism – or catastrophic events that may have led to the demise of the Neanderthals (between 40 and 30,000 years ago). Perhaps modern humans made their cave art in response to what was going on in the sky – using animals to symbolise cosmic activity. After all, most cave art revolves around bovines.

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