Believe it or not

By Creation Ministries International

Cave artists ‘more accurate’ than Leonardo da Vinci

Rock drawing
Rock drawing. Acacus Mountains in western Libya, Africa

Researchers led by Gábor Horváth of Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary, examined cave artwork and modern paintings and statues of animals including horses, bulls and elephants. They found the majority of depictions of animals walking or trotting had the legs wrongly positioned. However, cave paintings had the lowest error rate of 46.2%. The highest error rate, 83.5%, was in modern era artworks before the late 19th century. Leonardo da Vinci was famous for his anatomical drawings, but he, too, "got it wrong when he tried to portray animal movement".

The error rate decreased to 57.9% after the 1880s thanks to Eadweard Muybridge's pioneering detailed studies of animal gait. But illustrators of moving animals still could not match cave art for accuracy.

The researchers wrote: "Cavemen were more keenly aware of the slower motion of their prey animals and illustrated quadruped walking more precisely than later artists."?

  • Cave art animals 'more accurate',, 18 December 2012.
  • Cavemen Were Better at Depicting Quadruped Walking than Modern Artists: Erroneous Walking Illustrations in the Fine Arts from Prehistory to Today, PLoS ONE 7(12):e49786, 5 December 2012.
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