Paleolithic pornography


From photography to the internet, a characteristic sign that a new medium is going to succeed is that it is exploited by pornographers. And that, it seems, is not a recent phenomenon. A find reported in this week’s Nature suggests that sculpture, too, brought the smut-makers in early. 

Nicholas Conrad of the University of Tübingen, in Germany, describes what is probably the oldest human statue yet discovered. It is 6cm tall. It is carved from a mammoth tusk. It dates from about 35,000 years ago. It was found in a cave in south-western Germany. And it is, not to put too fine a point upon the matter, obscene. 

As 35,000 years ago is reckoned the moment when modern man, Homo sapiens, arrived in Europe, this discovery adds to the evidence that human thinking—or male thinking, at least—has hardly changed since the species evolved.

Via The Economist