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Study Shows Autistic Traits Behind Revolution in Ice Age Art

The ability to focus on detail, a common trait among people with autism, allowed realistic art to flourish 30,000 years ago during the ice age, according to researchers. Ice age ancestors have created exceptionally realistic art including the extremely accurate depictions of bears, bison, horses, and lions.

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Mammoth Cave National Park preserves the cave system and a part of the Green River valley and hilly country of south central Kentucky. This is the world's longest cave system, with more than 365 miles explored. Image: Wikimedia Commons
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The ability to focus on detail, a common trait among people with autism, allowed realistic art to flourish 30,000 years ago during the ice age, according to researchers.

Ice age ancestors have created exceptionally realistic art including the extremely accurate depictions of bears, bison, horses and lions.

Autistic Child lighting a candle
Autistic Child lighting a candle, pixabay

While many have argued that psychotropic drugs were behind the detailed illustrations, the new study argued instead that individuals with “detail focus” — a trait linked to autism, kicked off an artistic movement that led to the proliferation of realistic cave drawings across Europe.

“Detail focus is what determines whether you can draw realistically; you need it in order to be a talented realistic artist. This trait is found very commonly in people with autism and rarely occurs in people without it,” said lead author Penny Spikins from Britain’s University of York.

“We looked at the evidence from studies attempting to identify a link between artistic talent and drug use and found that drugs can only serve to disinhibit individuals with a pre-existing ability. The idea that people with a high degree of detail focus, many of which may have had autism, set a trend for extreme realism in ice age art is a more convincing explanation,” Spikins added.

The research adds to a growing body of evidence that people with autistic traits played an important role in human evolution.

Art Therapy for Autistic Children
Art Therapy for Autistic Children, pixabay

“Individuals with this trait — both those who would be diagnosed with autism in the modern day and those that wouldn’t — likely played an important part in human evolution and survival as we colonized Europe,” Spikins said.

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Besides, contributing to early culture, people with the attention to detail would also have had the focus to create complex tools from materials such as bone, rock and wood, the study showed.

“These skills became increasingly important in enabling us to adapt to the harsh environments we encountered in Europe,” Spikins noted. (IANS)

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Google Offers Scholarship of Rs 5 Lakh for the Winner of ‘Doodle for Google’

The first edition of "Doodle 4 Google India" was held in 2009 and the theme was "My India".

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'Doodle 4 Google' can get you Rs 5 lakh scholars
'Doodle 4 Google' can get you Rs 5 lakh scholarship.VOA

Google on Monday announced the “2018 Doodle 4 Google” contest inviting creative, art-loving students from across India to bring their imagination to life for the search engine giant’s logo.

This year’s theme for the doodle is “what inspires you”. The doodle, incorporating letters G-o-o-g-l-e, can be created using crayons, clay, water colours and graphic design.

The winner would win a Rs 5 lakh college scholarship, along with the opportunity to share their inspiration through their artwork, the company said in a statement.

Representational Image of 'Doodle for Google'. Flickr
Representational Image of ‘Doodle for Google’. Flickr

The winning doodle would also get featured on Google’s homepage on Children’s Day.

The contest is open to students from Class 1 to 10 and the last date of submission is October 6.

A panel of guest judges including the original doodle team leader at Google, Ryan Germick, will review the entries this year.

The internal judging and jury votes would finally shortlist the top 20 doodles that would be put up for public voting from October 23 to November 5, the statement said.

Also Read: Cluster Programmes of Indian Art in Delhi to Come to an End

The first edition of “Doodle 4 Google India” was held in 2009 and the theme was “My India”.

The same contest also runs in regions including Canada, Latin America and other Asian countries.(IANS)