Did women invent art? National Geographic reports:
Women made most of the oldest-known cave art paintings, suggests a new analysis of ancient handprints. Most scholars had assumed these ancient artists were predominantly men, so the finding overturns decades of archaeological dogma.
Archaeologist Dean Snow analyzed hand stencils found in eight cave sites in France and Spain. Snow determined that three-quarters of the handprints were female. Women tend to have ring and index fingers of about the same length, whereas men’s ring fingers tend to be longer than their index fingers.
“People have made a lot of unwarranted assumptions about who made these things, and why,” said Snow, whose research was supported by the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration.
Because many of these early paintings showcase game animals, many researchers have proposed that they were made by male hunters. The new study suggests otherwise.