A newly published article in the journal Science (Pike et al, 15 June 2012, “U-Series Dating of Paleolithic Art in 11 Caves in Spain”) indicates that Paleolithic cave art in Europe dates even earlier than previously known, to at least 40,800 years ago. This is only a few thousand years, at most, after the earliest documented appearance of anatomically modern humans on the continent and at least 4,000 years older than the previous estimates for the earliest cave art in Europe. Tests run on samples from the 11 caves identify the earliest image as a red disk dating to 40,800 years ago, followed at 37,300 years by a hand stencil, and a claviform-like (key-like) symbol at 35,600 years.
Over the following millennia, artistic representations painted on cave walls developed tremendously in variety and sophistication, including a whole range of abstract symbols as well as exquisitely life-like animal representations, which demonstrate a fully human intellectual and aesthetic capability. However, these early simple designs, assuming that they do indeed predate the more elaborate images, may illustrate an aspect of the artistic tradition that modern humans brought with them when they first migrated out of Africa. The newly applied dating technique uses the ratio of radioactive uranium to thorium in the calcium deposits (calcite) that have formed on the cave walls after the paintings were created. Uranium gradually decays into thorium at a predictable rate. Once a calcite deposit is formed the initial ratio of the two elements will progressively shift; thus the older the specimen the greater the proportion of thorium to uranium.
That's from Philip Guelpa's "Did Neanderthals create cave art?" (WSWS). Well did they?
I think it's possible.
But what I think is even more likely is that we won't guess in 100 years. In a 100 years, we'll have time travel and people will go back in time to determine what happened.
So, like, you want to know about Abraham Lincoln? You go back in time. Maybe you're there in Gettysburg for the famous address or maybe you're in the theater. But you can go back and observe.
It's probably be like computers in that it'll be a "READ ONLY" fucntion.
Meaning you can see but you can't make changes.
And so we'll all be zipping back 150 years or more and history won't be books, it will be interactive, observational learning.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"