Cavemen better than modern artists, according to a report in Fossil Science 9 December 2012 and PLoS ONE doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049786.

Anyone who has tried to draw running animals has found it is not easy to accurately depict the relative positions of their moving legs, so what has modern man done to fix this? In the 1880s a photographer named Eadweard Muybridge pioneered the study of how quadrupeds (four-legged creatures) move, using multiple still photos of animals taken in sequence as the animal walked. This has helped modern artists depict walking animals more accurately.

A group of Hungarian scientists have now compared pictures of moving animals drawn by modern artists, before and after Muybridge’s work, with drawings of such animals left by prehistoric cavemen. They found modern “pre- Muybridge” artists had the highest rate of incorrect leg configuration, but even after Muybridge’s work, modern artists are still not as good as cavemen. The error rate was 83.5% for pre-1887 artists and 57.9% post-1887 artists. However, cavemen were way ahead with only 46.2% errors.

The research team concluded: “Thus, cavemen were more keenly aware of the slower motion of their prey animals and illustrated quadruped walking more precisely than later artists”. The PLoS ONE article is entitled: “Cavemen Were Better at Depicting Quadruped Walking than Modern Artists: Erroneous Walking Illustrations in the Fine Arts from Prehistory to Today”.

Editorial Comment: Anyone who has seen the spectacular ‘cave man’ art in the caves of Europe would agree it is the work of brilliant artists, so we are pleased to see Hungarian researchers refer to it as “fine art”. However, if you really want to know why cavemen were better at art than modern man, you will understand it better if you take Biblical history as real, where we learn man was created not from some pre-existing animal, but as the image of God in a separate fully formed creation (Genesis 1:26), and since the Creator God is a very creative artist, don’t be surprised design and creative art are a human characteristic as well.

But, by the time we get to the dispersal of mankind from the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11), some of the people who moved into cold, rainy Europe made their homes in caves, and used their considerable skill in drawing better 3D buffaloes on cave walls than modern artists can draw. These cavemen were not inferior beings on the way up, but superior beings on the way down to modern artists, who don’t do as well with moving animals on average. Such cavemen still retained much of the intelligence and skill inherited from their ancestors who forged metals, made musical instruments, and built cities (Genesis 4), built ocean going boats (Genesis 10) and multi-story towers (Genesis 11).

Evidence News 27 March 2013

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