scientists led by archaeologist Prof Mark Collard of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver say the truth may be far more gruesome. “There is compelling evidence that these people may have had their fingers amputated deliberately in rituals intended to elicit help from supernatural entities,” said Collard.

    • LeadEyes@lemmy.world
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      7 months ago

      Even then religious rituals is a bucket explanation used when archeologists have no idea why something is a certain way. If something is weird about an extinct animal then it’s always for mate selection reasons. The same sort of thing.

      • FirstCircleOP
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        7 months ago

        Except that they (researchers) are claiming to have an idea of why something (fingers) is a certain way (chopped-off in cave paintings).

        “There is compelling evidence that these people may have had their fingers amputated deliberately in rituals intended to elicit help from supernatural entities”

        If you review their research and find cite-able problems with it, fine, but they’re specifically asserting that they have reason to believe that these amputations were real and inspired by beliefs in supernatural deities.

  • RedAggroBest@lemmy.world
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    7 months ago

    Not to comment one way or the other, but when I first saw this hypothesis, I thought the people rejecting it off “it would make life too hard” might’ve actually been stupid. As if human history isn’t fucking STUFFED with people doing much worse to themselves for much less?

  • micnd90 [he/him,any]@hexbear.net
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    7 months ago

    Up until 12kyr ago was the last glacial period, and stone age painting by definiton were mostly around that time. Maybe it was just cold and people out all day in the cold hunting deers lose their finger?

    But if cave paintings from tropical regions like Africa and south asia also have missing digits then I’ll believe it might a ceremonial thing.

  • AutoTL;DR@lemmings.worldB
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    7 months ago

    This is the best summary I could come up with:


    Men and women might have had their fingers deliberately chopped off during religious rituals in prehistoric times, according to a new interpretation of palaeolithic cave art.

    In a paper presented at a recent meeting of the European Society for Human Evolution, researchers point to 25,000-year-old paintings in France and Spain that depict silhouettes of hands.

    In the past, this absence of digits was attributed to artistic licence by the cave-painting creators or to ancient people’s real-life medical problems, including frostbite.

    “There is compelling evidence that these people may have had their fingers amputated deliberately in rituals intended to elicit help from supernatural entities,” said Collard.

    In a paper presented at the European Society conference, they said their latest research provided even more convincing evidence that the removal of digits to appease deities explains the hand images in the caves in France and Spain.

    Collard pointed to rituals still carried out in Mauritius and other places, such as fire-walking, face-piercing with skewers and putting hooks through skin so a person can haul heavy chains behind them.


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