Analysis shows women made early cave drawings | Rock Candy

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Analysis shows women made early cave drawings

Posted By on Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 5:15 PM

click to enlarge The short pinky finger suggests a woman drew  this leopard.
  • The short pinky finger suggests a woman drew this leopard.

You know, the field of archeology and paleontology has been dominated by the hairy-chested, so it's not surprising that their interpretations of prehistory have a male bent.

Now, an archeologist at Pennsylvania State University, analyzing ochre-stenciled handprints found in cave sites in France and Spain, has determined that three-quarters of the hands were women's. Dean Snow has published his findings in American Antiquity, and National Geographic writer Virginia Hughes has summed up his research.

She writes: 

Snow ran the numbers through an algorithm that he had created based on a reference set of hands from people of European descent who lived near his university. Using several measurements—such as the length of the fingers, the length of the hand, the ratio of ring to index finger, and the ratio of index finger to little finger—the algorithm could predict whether a given handprint was male or female. Because there is a lot of overlap between men and women, however, the algorithm wasn't especially precise: It predicted the sex of Snow's modern sample with about 60 percent accuracy.

Luckily for Snow, that wasn't a problem for the analysis of the prehistoric handprints. As it turned out—much to his surprise—the hands in the caves were much more sexually dimorphic than modern hands, meaning that there was little overlap in the various hand measurements.

"They fall at the extreme ends, and even beyond the extreme ends," Snow said. "Twenty thousand years ago, men were men and women were women."

Here's the Daily Mail's article on the research, which includes the illustration above. 

So take that, Mr. Jansen. The earliest artists were female. They may have been hunters as well.

Tags: ,

From the ArkTimes store



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • No Red Cross number on the wall? For shame, Planned Parenthood

    It would be interesting to know why Arkansas Department of Health inspectors have, for the first time, been concerned whether there is a Red Cross phone number posted in clinics that provide abortion services.
    • Dec 14, 2017
  • No more net neutrality: FCC votes along party lines in favor of telecom companies

    As expected, the FCC today voted along party lines 3-2 to dump net neutrality and allow broadband providers to block or slow upload of websites and charge for certain content and high-quality delivery.
    • Dec 14, 2017
  • Tech Park 2.0: Architects present for next phase

    The three finalists in the Little Rock Technology Park's search for an architect to design the next phase of park development — a six-story, 100,000-square-foot building on the empty lot between the park, at 417 Main St., and the KATV, Channel 7, building at 401 Main — presented to the board this afternoon.
    • Dec 13, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation