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: ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Gallery guide: New shows, Argenta Art Walk

    Tonight's the third Friday of the month, which means that you can see lots of art on and off Main Street in Argenta, which is holding its after-hours Art Walk from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
    • Apr 20, 2018
  • Fayetteville and University of Arkansas advocate for Oklahoma wind energy project

    The University of Arkansas and the city of Fayetteville announced today their support for the Wind Catcher Energy Connection Project, an Oklahoma panhandle wind farm that will deliver power to Northwest Arkansas.
    • Apr 19, 2018
  • New development at old Sears site firms up

    In the next year and a half to two years, the 16 acres at the northwest corner of University Avenue and Interstate 630, the old Sears site, will transform into a development featuring retail, restaurants and a hotel — or two — called The District at Midtown.
    • Apr 19, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Coming Monday: Little Rock Black Restaurant Week

    MoTown Monday is Ceci's Chicken and Waffles. Tasty Tuesday is Sims BBQ and Brewster's Soul Food Cafe. Wing Wednesday is Chicken King and Chicken Wangs. Soul Food Thursday is Lindsey's BBQ and Hospitality House and Food Truck Festival Friday is @station801. It's the first Black Restaurant Week.
    • Mar 8, 2017
  • New music from Isaac Alexander

    New music from Isaac Alexander.
    • Jul 14, 2017
  • No Small Talk Ep. 8: Katy Henriksen, Springs Arts preview

    A packed episode this week of "No Small Talk": a chat with Katy Henriksen, from Of Note on KUAF; Stephanie Smittle breaks down the Spring Arts issue; and we finish up with just a tiny bit of Oscar chatter.
    • Mar 9, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation