Cavemen painted while high on drugs

Prehistoric man made cave art while high on hallucinogenic drugs, a new research has claimed.

Last Updated: Jul 21, 2013, 17:07 PM IST

Washington: Prehistoric man made cave art while high on hallucinogenic drugs, a new research has claimed.

A team of international scientists studied over 40,000 years worth of cave paintings. They found the spiral-like and labyrinthian designs that pop up in paintings from locations that are thousands of miles away from each other didn`t just pop up by coincidence.

These patterns are consistent with those that many humans see after taking hallucinogenic drugs, leading scientists to believe that ancient cavemen were high while painting.

Known as "Turing instabilities," these hallucinations are common after ingesting a number of different plants with psychoactive properties, website `Gizmodo` reported.

The patterns resemble "neural patterns" that mimic the structural makeup of the brain and are as meaningful as those that initially experienced them perceived them to be.

"When these visual patterns are seen during altered states of consciousness they are directly experienced as highly charged with significance," the researchers said.

"In other words, the patterns are directly perceived as somehow meaningful and thereby offer themselves as salient motifs for use in rituals," they said.

However, this isn`t the first time it has emerged that hallucinogenic drugs may have played a role in early cave paintings though it`s the most scientifically rigorous evidence yet.

A couple of years ago, a 6,000-year-old cave painting in Spain created a small buzz after scientists identified what appeared to be images of psychedelic mushrooms in one of the murals, the report said.

This finding was consistent with earlier hypotheses drawn from similar paintings that suggested cavemen knew about the special powers some plants possessed and possibly used those plants to inspire some of the earliest works of art known to man.