Seeing spots? Ancient DNA answers riddle

Posted: November 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

LOS ANGELES — Archaeologists who thought cave painters were “seeing spots” have found that it’s no fantasy, according to a report from the San Jose Mercury News.

DNA analysis has determined that an actual population of spotted horses (genetic mutants) among those with brown coats did exist to provide models for cave painters in France.

Researchers shared their findings at a meeting of the National Academy of Sciences in Los Angeles.

AP Photo/Center for Prehistory of Pech Merle, P. Cabrol

Early human beings were “immensely creative” enough to use artistic techniques such as charcoal shading, noted Archaeologist Paul Pettitt of the University of Sheffield, England. Next question: Does that suggest something lost to the general population over time? The answer isn’t immediately clear, although spots are still popular, as evidenced by the December 2011 issue of Cosmopolitan.


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