Stone Age animation: Scientists find cartoon techniques in cave drawings

Beware of the running beast! French scientists have found that Stone Age people around 30,000 years ago were using animation techniques in their cave drawings, to give the viewer an impression that the creatures in their pictures are moving.

Two French researchers – archaeologist Marc Azema of the University of Toulouse – Le Mirail in France and artist Florent Rivere, have spent 20 years looking into stone age animation techniques and came to a conclusion that stone age artists intended to give movement to their images, Science News reports.

Stone Age artists used many different techniques to represent movement. The large-scale drawing in the Chauvet cave unveils a hunting story, Azema says. Animal figures in one picture turn into to smaller ones in another to show the depicted animals have moved away from the scene.

In some drawings ancient artists merged several poses of an animal to show the movement of legs, tail and head while running. The researchers found that 53 figures in 12 caves in France superimpose two or more images to show movement.

The most exciting findings are the disk-shaped bones and stones typically with a hole in the middle covered with drawings. These were in fact the first animation toys of the ancient European people. These disks discovered in France and Spain show opposing images of sitting and standing animals. If you rotate them quickly enough you’ll see the animal actually sitting and then standing up.

These rotating objects can be called the ancestors of a movie camera.


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