Yes! They used cartoon-like techniques to give the impression that wild beasts were trotting or running across cave walls...
That what a "new"* (see at the end of the article) study, from two French researchers (archaeologist Marc Azéma of the University of Toulouse–Le
Mirail in France and independent French artist Florent Rivère) argued: about 30,000 years ago Paleolithic artists used "animation
effects" in their paintings.
According to the researchers, this would explain multiple heads or limbs on some cave paintings.
"Prehistoric man foreshadowed one of the fundamental characteristics of visual perception, retinal persistence," Azéma and Rivère wrote.
Azéma, who spent 20 years researching Stone Age animation techniques, isolated 53 figures in 12 French caves which
superimpose two or more images to represent trot or gallop, head tossing and tail shaking.
"Lascaux is the cave with the greatest number of cases of split-action movement by superimposition of successive images. Some 20 animals, principally
horses, have the head, legs or tail multiplied," Azéma said.
When the paintings are viewed by flickering torchlight, the animated effect "achieves its full impact," said Azéma.
"That such animation was intentional is endorsed by the likely use of incised disks as thaumatropes," he added.
Rivère examined Magdalenian bone discs -- objects found in the Pyrenees, the north of Spain and the Dordogne which measure about 1.50 inches in
Often pierced in their centre, the discs have been generally interpreted as buttons or pendants.
"Given that some are decorated on both sides with animals shown in different positions, we realized that another type of use, relating to sequential
animation, was possible," the researchers said.
* Source is Discovery News
, however, it was known since 2005: it is based
on Azéma’s Ph.D. thesis research, which he summarized in a 2005 paper for the International Newsletter On Rock Art, which is edited by French cave
art expert Jean Clottes.
Azéma shows how cave artists created the sensation of movement in the animals they drew both by superimposing multiple numbers of legs, heads, and
other body parts and by orienting groups of animals in dynamic ways that suggest motion, which is similar to what animators do today. In the Lascaux
Cave, for example, some 20 horses were drawn with multiple heads, legs, or tails. One Lascaux horse was drawn with five superimposed heads and several
manes. Similar techniques were used at La Marche Cave in France’s Vienne department, where a horse was drawn with so many heads, tails, and
backsides that it looks like a blur on the cave wall.
Azéma finds such animation techniques even in the earliest known cave art, at the 32,000-year-old Chauvet Cave in the French Ardèche (see panel
above), where a bison is drawn with eight legs. Azéma even suggests that the artist who painted Chauvet’s famous Horse Panel, which features four
superbly drawn horses’ heads, might have intended to depict one horse in motion—although he adds that it is not possible to know for sure.
edit on 9-6-2012 by elevenaugust because: (no reason given)