“Do you know what else these cavemen invented? Can’t you guess? They invented talking; they invented having real conversations with one another, using words. Of course animals also make noises—they can cry out when they feel pain and make warning calls when danger threatens, but they don’t have names for things as human beings do. And prehistoric people were the first creatures to do so. They invented something else that was wonderful too: pictures. Many of these can still be seen today, painted on the walls of caves. No painter alive today could do better. The animals they depict don’t exist anymore, they were painted so long ago. Elephants with long thick coats of hair and great, curving tusks—wooly mammoths—and other Ice Age animals.”
Excerpted from: Gombrich, E.H. Trans. Caroline Mustill. A Little History of the World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.