About 200,000 years ago, ice age children crushed their hands and feet in the sticky mud thousands of feet above sea level on the Tibetan Plateau. These impressions, now preserved in limestone, provide some of the earliest evidence of human ancestors living in the area and may represent the oldest art of the kind ever discovered.
A new report published in the journal on September 10th Scientific informationThe authors of the study argue that hands and footprints should be regarded as “mural” art, a prehistoric art that cannot be moved from place to place. This usually refers to petroglyphs and paintings on the walls of a cave, for example. But not all archaeologists agree that newly discovered prints meet the definition of mural, experts told Live Science.
Traces left by ice age children
Research author David Zhang, a professor of geography at Guangzhou University in China, first discovered five bills and five footprints. fossil Quesang hot springs located above 13,100 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level on the Tibetan Plateau. The authors dated the samples by assessing how much uranium, a radioactive element found naturally in the environment, is contained in printed matter.Based on rate uranium Collapsed, they estimated that the impression was left about 169,000 to 226,000 years ago — Pleistocene eraIt occurred 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago.
And judging by the size of the print, the team decided that Mark was left by two children. One is the size of modern 7 years old and the other is the size of 12 years old.However, the team cannot be sure of any kind of ancient language human Matthew Bennett, a professor of environmental and geography at Bournemouth University in Poole, UK, who co-authored the study, said he left the prints.
“Denisovans are a real possibility” But Homo erectus Bennett mentioned in live science two known human ancestors, also known to live in the area. “There are many candidates, but no, we really don’t know.”
The prints provide the earliest evidence of the Hominini in Khe Sanh, “but there is increasing evidence that there are archaic humans around the Tibetan Plateau at the same time,” Bennett added. For example, scientists recently recovered a Denisovan jawbone in the Baishia cave on the northeastern tip of the Tibetan Plateau, said Emmanuel Honore, a postdoctoral fellow at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, who was not involved in the study. ..The mandible is “at least” 160,000 years old, researchers reported in a journal in 2019 NatureThat is, the bone debris can be traced back to the same time as Khe Sanh’s bill, Onore told Live Science in an email.
However, because the Baixia Cave is miles north of Kesan and only 10,500 feet (3,200 m) above sea level, the newly discovered bill is the oldest occupied area of the highest elevation in the center of the plateau. Provides evidence, said Michael, Meyer, an assistant professor of geology at the University of Insbruck, Austria, who was not involved in the study. Like the author of the study, Meyer suspects that the Denisovans are likely to have left the bill. Therefore, “this study may show that the Denisovans were the first Tibetans and were originally genetically adapted to cope with high altitude stress,” he said by email in live science. Told to.
The bill itself is made of travertine. Travertine is a type of freshwater limestone formed by deposits from natural hot springs. According to Bennett, travertine forms “very fine, chunky mud” when first deposited, making it easy to push in the limbs. After that, when separated from the water, travertine solidifies into stones.
On a previous expedition in the 1980s, Zhang found similar hands and footprints near a modern hot spring bath in Khe Sanh. In general, there are many traces of early humans decorating nearby slopes. Previously discovered limb impressions vary in size, meaning left by children and adults, but appear to be organically made as people pass through the land. Bennett, on the other hand, differs in that the newly discovered prints appear to have been intentionally left behind, Bennett said.
“They are intentionally placed … you don’t always get these traces if you’re doing normal activity across the slopes,” he said. “They are actually placed in space as if someone was making a more intentional composition.” Bennett compared the print to a finger groove. This is a type of prehistoric art created by people who run their fingers on the soft surface of the walls of the cave. Both children and adults are believed to have participated in finger fluting, and Bennett said that Khe Sanh’s prints should also be considered art.
To draw a comparison with modern times, “I have a 3-year-old daughter. When she scribbles, I put it in the fridge … and say it’s an art,” Bennett says. I did. “I’m convinced that art critics don’t necessarily define my child’s graffiti as art, but in general usage we do. [so].. And this also makes no difference. “
Work of art?
If Khe Sanh’s prints qualify for murals, the authors write in their report that they are the oldest known examples of the genre found so far. Previously, the oldest known examples of mural art were hand motifs and hand stencils found in Sulawesi, Indonesia and the El Castillo Cave in Spain. Both are about 45,000-40,000 years old.
Related: Photo: World’s oldest cave painting
However, “Quesang has little to do with these two sites, except for the fact that they all show their hands. [and] “Footprint,” Honoré told Live Science. “Leaving prints in the mud and stencil printing with pigments is a completely different process, not only from a technical point of view, but also from a conceptual point of view.”
For Honore, personally, murals include paintings and sculptures on rocks, but markings such as finger grooves and Khe Sanh prints are excluded, and other archaeologists have the same view. .. “Some authors already consider the finger groove to be art, some consider it a pioneer of art, and some consider it an experiment. [or] “Play, not art,” he said. “I will personally be one of the researchers in this last category,” Honore said.
“Classifying these human traces as art is of secondary importance in my opinion,” Meyer said. The most interesting implication of the new study is that human ancestors occupied the plateau much earlier than previously thought, which species of Hominini left prints and arrived at the plateau first. Raise questions about. Looking to the future, Meyer said he hopes there will be more research to confirm the age of the inscriptions and to clarify how they were well preserved over the long term.
Regardless of how modern scholars define prints, it is important to note that “what we define as art was probably not seen by the people who made it.” is. So what we were actually doing when the ancient Hominini children pushed their limbs into the hillside, or what their older relatives did with their efforts, we never do not know. But for Bennett, the fossilized traces of two children playing in the mud are still counted as art in his book.
Originally published in Live Science.
Children’s fossilized bills may be part of the oldest art in the world
Source link Children’s fossilized bills may be part of the oldest art in the world