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Les Eyzies Diary: A Very Old Cat

Perhaps what really separates man from other species is that we make art. Sure, animals hunt, eat, play with each other, and some can produce tools, but do they ever spend time and effort to create beautiful objects? The carving below — seemingly of a cat or hyena preparing to spring forward — was part of a spear thrower (“propulseur”) left at the Cro-Magnon Abri de la Madeleine site in France’s Dordogne region, famous for its ancient cave paintings. Sculpted from mammouth ivory, stratigraphic dating gives it an age of approximately 14,000 years.

Magdalene Feline.jpg

The piece is on display at the Musée National de Préhistoire in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac in southwestern France.

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