A New Picture of an Old Species

Today, our group first went to a prehistory museum, then we visited La Grotte de Rouffignac. The museum was mostly filled with prehistoric tools, bones of animals and predecessors of humans, and reconstructions of those species. Though it was extremely fascinating to see these exhibits, one point that the guide said stuck out to me. She said that even though when we think about human predecessors we envision them entirely focused on survival, this is not completely true. Later, she pointed out a pretty shell that had been found in a cave dwelling and I think that this reinforces her point. This shell may not have served a purpose to its ancient owners the way that a tool or an animal skin would have. Despite this, it was kept in this cave anyways for no other reason than that its discoverers were interested or liked the way it looked when they found it.

While we were touring La Grotte de Rouffignac, a cave near Sarlat filled with prehistoric cave paintings (The photo attached is of the cave entrance).

I was amazed with the incredible art that covered the walls. These people painted mammoths, rhinoceros, horses, and other animals on the walls and ceilings. Looking at this beautiful art, I thought about how much time they must have spent painting and carving in the cave. This showed me that our predecessors were not simply focused on finding food, water and safety; they were creative and curious beings.


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