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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Were Most Cave Paintings Done by Women?
11 October 2013 2:30 pm
Some handprints accompanying the most famous ancient cave paintings of ice age mammals such as horses and mammoths—long attributed to males—may have actually belonged to women. That’s the conclusion of a new study, in which a researcher compared the silhouettes of 32 handprints found next to 12,500- to 40,000-year-old cave paintings in southern France and northern Spain. Many of the prints, possibly one of the first forms of artist’s signature, are small, which has led some scientists to infer that the art was painted by adolescent males. But the new work, reported this month in American Antiquity, concludes that 24 of the hands belonged to females, based on both the length of the hand and fingers as well as the ratios of lengths of the index finger, ring finger, and little finger. Of the eight remaining handprints, only three depict the hands of adult males; the rest are of adolescent males. It’s likely that each of the hands stenciled on the cave walls—such as these in El Castillo cave in Spain—belong to the artist, not a model, the researcher contends. For one thing, the caves are typically small, so two people would probably have had trouble fitting into the small space together. Also, more than three-fourths of the hands depicted are left hands, which is the most likely one to be stenciled by a right-handed artist.