Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sketchy premises

This is pretty exciting. Scientists have found evidence that North Americans of the Ice Age depicted mammoths and/or mastodons in art. First of all, if you live in Florida, close your eyes and picture an Ice Age. Weird yet refreshing, am I right? As they say:

"This is an incredibly exciting discovery," said Dennis Stanford, anthropologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and co-author of this research. "There are hundreds of depictions of proboscideans on cave walls and carved into bones in Europe, but none from America -- until now."

I'm also interested in this.

Believed to be genuine, this rare specimen provides evidence that people living in the Americas during the last Ice Age created artistic images of the animals they hunted. The engraving is at least 13,000 years old as this is the date for the last appearance of these animals in eastern North America, and more recent Pre-Columbian people would not have seen a mammoth or mastodon to draw.

Creating images of the animals was a form of idealization. If you prefer, prayer. So a lot of evidence shows that early human hunters regarded their prey with a kind of reverence. Once you lose that, things go downhill fast.


susan said...

Nowadays most people seem to think their meat grows in plastic containers at the supermarket. Of course, I eat my share of thousand mile fruit so I'm not one to talk.

Isn't it funny that not long ago common wisdom declared Native Americans had only been here a couple of thousand years? Now every year that time span expands.

Ben said...

Yeah, it's pretty thrilling to know that the history of people in North and South America is so deep and rich.