Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Symmetry and cave art

Today's NY Times reports:
Brittle stars are sea creatures with five limbs and no brain. Found on the seafloor across the world, they have no obvious front, unlike humans and most other animals. Now, a new study reports that the brainless creatures are nonetheless able to move in a coordinated way, by mdesignating one limb as the “front-facing” limb, and using two others to propel forward. ...

Most animals, including humans, are bilaterally symmetrical. In other words, drawing a line down the center results in symmetrical halves. ...

“You can get the benefits of bilateral symmetry without being bilaterally symmetrical,” he said. “You can become behaviorally bilaterally symmetrical.”
No. The brittle stars are bilaterally symmetrical. On five different planes.
But this picture of cave art should get a lot more attention:
Researchers have discovered illustrations of female anatomy in a rock shelter in France that date back 37,000 years.

It is “the oldest evidence of any kind of graphic imagery,” said Randall White, an anthropologist at New York University and one of the researchers working on the project.
I think that the newspaper artist had some fun with that one.

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