Gerold Firl (
2 Oct 1996 19:13:50 GMT

In article <52o8vh$>, (Joseph S Grossberg) writes:

|> On the discovery of ~170,000 year old art in Australia (somthing they're
|> making a huge deal of down here):
|> I'm not particularly interested in whehter or not the claims are
|> legitimate (for this thread's sake) but instead have this question-- why
|> is everyone assuming that men/Aborigines/homo sapiens sapiens created the
|> rock art? Could not have a hominid slightly "lower" than (and
|> subsequently supplanted by) mankind have created the art?

Sure. If the dates are correct, then the artists were people who would
be classified as either late h. erectus or very archaic h. sapiens. If
you met one of these guys dressed in a business suit, or wearing a
beret and brandishing a brush and palette, you would definately gulp.

The reason people generally assume that art is created by modern h.
sap. sap.'s is simply because no earlier art has ever been found.
Starting around 40,000 bp we find rock art and decorative jewelry-type
artifacts; before that, nothing, until now. There is no a priori reason
to believe that the more archaic hominids _couldn't_ produce art; it's
just that it hadn't been seen - until now.

|> This would not throw a monkey wrench into current paleoanthropological
|> thought, and I'm surprised it hasn't been forwarded as an explanation by
|> the more skeptical members of the anthropological world.

I'm not sure what you mean by this; 150,000 bp, the hominid residents
of the indo-pacific area had very erectoid anatomy, so any artifacts
dating to this period must be assumed to have been manufactured by

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf