London, November 12 (ANI): A researcher into the history of rock art has suggested that images pecked in stone hundreds to thousands of years ago could be for religious reasons, to mark territories or simple doodles, which were made on instinct by early man as a survival technique.
"Creating art is a distinct piece of our biological make-up. It is an instinct," Dr. Ekkehart Malotki, told The Daily Courier.
Malotki, a professor emeritus of languages at Northern Arizona University, said no one would ever know the true meaning of images pecked or painted on stone pallets because the artists are dead and did not leave a record or "Rosetta Stone" to decipher the images' meanings.
The oldest known rock art is a 300,000-year-old panel of small chipped cups, called cupules, found in India.
Malotki believes that the images of animals and people evolved from early artists' doodles.
"The non-iconic abstract images preceded the representational (humans and animals) imagery," he said. "The nice images are what people focus on, but I like the non-iconic art," he added.
Malotki has scoured Arizona and around the globe studying and documenting rock art.
He believes that the ancient artists did not peck or paint images for decoration, but rather as a "hardwired" need to create art as a survival technique, or a type of spiritual offering, "to increase their odds of survival."
"That is why I used the subtitle, 'Art for Life's Sake,' because the act of making the image was more important to them than the final result," he said.
Malotki has teamed with evolutionary psychologist Ellen Dissanayake to study a theory that the reason images found in Arizona are identical to those found in the Sahara and elsewhere is because humans have a core of biologically universal images they are born with.
Malotki lists 15 "human universals," called phosphenes, found in rock art around the world. Some include circles, zigzags, spirals, dots (cupules) and boxes and rows of lines.
"They are the same doodles children draw in school and adults draw while talking on the telephone," he said. (ANI)