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Were women the first artists?

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Prehistoric scrawlings were made by cavemen, right?

Perhaps not, say archaeologists.

Researchers from Penn State University analysed hundreds of the oldest-known cave drawings and came to the conclusion they were created by women.

They say the subject matter of the paintings - usually game animals - has led people to believe they were the work of men, but the size of many handprints they studied suggests the art was actually done by women.

Cave of the Hands: Prehistoric rock paintings of human hands in red black and orange 13,000 to 9,500 years old

Archaeologist Dean Snow said: "In most hunter-gatherer societies, it's men that do the killing. But it's often the women who haul the meat back to camp, and women are as concerned with the productivity of the hunt as the men are. It wasn't just a bunch of guys out there chasing bison around."

It's worth pointing out there has been a skeptical response to this claim from some other researchers. Evolutionary biologist R. Dale Guthrie's own study concluded many cave paintings were done by adolescent boys: "They drew what was on their mind, which is mainly two things: naked women and large, frightening mammals."

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