5.3.1 First pictures
We have no verbal evidence of this early stage in man's history, except for some traditions repeated by the African Bushmen and the Australian aboriginals. But we have a quantity of visual evidence, going back to the stone age,  in the remains of painting on caves like those at Lascaux and Altamira. These are popularly known through dishonest reconstructions by archaeologists, which give an entirely false impression of them. In fact they are little more than blots and scratches; but amongst them are undeniable likenesses of bison and other animals. We may ask what induced man, who lived by hunting, to cover the walls of his caves with these most vivid and accurate depictions of his antagonists. Prehistorians give different arguments. These paintings, they say, were intended to give men power over the animals, and so increase their success in hunting. That the representation of a creature may be treated as a substitute for that creature, and confer magical powers, was, and has remained, true. Witches and witch doctors transfix models of the person they would destroy, and in at least one of the early caves, known as the Trois Freres, the animals are shown pierced with spears. But can this be true of the lively, energetic animals that can be dimly discerned on the uneven walls of Altamira? The few men who appear in Lascaux cut very poor figures compared to the vigorous animals. Can we seriously believe that they thought they were gaining power over their magnificent companions? Are they not rather expressing their envy and admiration? We must suppose, and Bushmen within living memory confirm it, that in prehistoric times the relationship between men and animals was closer than we can imagine. Man had barely learnt the use of tools, and his speech was rudimentary. Animals were in the ascendant, and distinguished from man less by their intellectual limitations than by their greater strength and speed. The message from the cave artists may well be 'This is what we want to be like, these are the most admirable of our kinsmen'.