If you look closely enough, you can see grandpa.
Not really grandpa, but our distant cousins. Very distant.
In fact, if every generation is good for 25 years, then we’re talking almost 3000 generations ago. That’s a lot of cousins.
Turns out that we have found some of their earliest artworks.
This is important because, well, it was important to them.
You see, this art wasn’t something that was assigned as a class assignment. It wasn’t even something that a few crazy teens decided to do in order to assert their independence.
This art took time in every aspect of the word, and of the work. Time to make the materials. Time to make fires in order to see the work. Time to make torches that you took into the cave. Time to find the cave. And perhaps most important of all, time to figure out what they were going to represent, artistically.
Here’s the fun part.
Today, we see art everywhere. It’s all around us. There is so much art that our appreciation of it has gone pretty much down to zero.
Why should it have been different back then? Why couldn’t they have scratched art into the sand, the trees, even into themselves?
Chances are that they did. We can’t see it because of a couple of things.
The first, big thing is that all those other techniques they used are much less permanent than cave painting.
But there’s a second, almost-as-big a thing as the first.
Our minds aren’t quite open to the possibility that they did it. “Scientists” are still arguing whether or not Neanderthals could have created artwork. Well, now we know. The answer is YES. Getting them to admit that they made art in any other place than a cave? They’ll never go for it.
It will be up to some young, up-and-coming young student of behavior to take that bull by the horns and prove it to all the old teachers that yes, Neanderthals liked to express themselves in many ways.
That’s why they need a good theory of behavior. We do it. Our ancestors did it. Why not our distant cousins?
And if not, why not?
In the meantime, I’m going to go make some art that’ll last at least as long.
First, I need a cave.