An early species of humans who lived between 120,000 and 35,000 years ago were not as good at drawing as early modern humans. The species is called Neanderthal man. They became extinct tens of thousands of years ago. They had large brains and made complex tools to hunt, but they never showed the ability to draw recognizable images. This is unlike early modern humans who drew animals and other figures on rocks and cave walls. Professor Richard Coss, an expert on pre-historic drawings, studied ancient photos and video film of early art. He studied charcoal drawings and engravings of animals made by human artists from 28,000 to 32,000 years ago in southern France.
A professor said the difference in artistic skills could be because of the way they hunted. Neanderthal man hunted tamer animals that were easier to kill. However, early modern humans hunted more dangerous animals. This needed better hand-eye coordination. Professor Coss said: "Neanderthals could mentally visualize previously seen animals from working memory, but they were unable to translate those mental images effectively into the coordinated hand-movement patterns required for drawing." Professor Coss said early modern humans used drawings to plan hunts and to focus on and discuss which parts of an animal's body to target.