Scientists from the universities of Edinburgh and Kent have just published an exciting new study which suggests that prehistoric people were well-versed in the art of astronomy 40,000 years ago, as evidenced by both Palaeolithic and Neolithic cave art that was analyzed and studied in France, Germany, Spain and Turkey.
As Phys.org reports, lead author of the new study -- Dr. Martin Sweatman, from the University of Edinburgh's School of Engineering -- has stated that through his team's research into prehistoric cave art, it does indeed appear that early humans drew depictions of the astronomical events that they were witnessing, forever preserving them within the confines of caves scattered around the world.
"Early cave art shows that people had advanced knowledge of the night sky within the last ice age. Intellectually, they were hardly any different to us today. These findings support a theory of multiple comet impacts over the course of human development, and will probably revolutionize how prehistoric populations are seen."
And while the ancient Greeks may have been given the credit for first understanding the precession of the equinoxes, it would appear from the careful study of prehistoric cave art that earlier humans -- before the ancient Greeks -- were already well aware of the gradual shift of the Earth's rotational axis.