Chauvet Cave

The Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave in the Ardèche department of southern France is a cave that contains some of the best-preserved figurative cave paintings in the world, as well as other evidence of Upper Paleolithic life. It is located near the commune of Vallon-Pont-d'Arc on a limestone cliff above the former bed of the Ardèche River, in the Gorges de l'Ardèche. Discovered on December 18, 1994, it is considered one of the most significant prehistoric art sites and the UN’s cultural agency UNESCO granted it World Heritage status on June 22, 2014; the cave was first explored by a group of three speleologists: Eliette Brunel-Deschamps, Christian Hillaire, Jean-Marie Chauvet for whom it was named six months after an aperture now known as "Le Trou de Baba" was discovered by Michel Rosa. At a date the group returned to the cave. Another member of this group, Michel Chabaud, along with two others, travelled further into the cave and discovered the Gallery of the Lions, the End Chamber. Chauvet has his own detailed account of the discovery.

In addition to the paintings and other human evidence, they discovered fossilized remains and markings from a variety of animals, some of which are now extinct. Further study by French archaeologist Jean Clottes has revealed much about the site; the dates have been a matter of dispute but a study published in 2012 supports placing the art in the Aurignacian period 32,000–30,000 years BP. A study published in 2016 using additional 88 radiocarbon dates showed two periods of habitation, one 37,000 to 33,500 years ago and the second from 31,000 to 28,000 years ago with most of the black drawings dating to the earlier period; the cave is situated above the previous course of the Ardèche River. The gorges of the Ardèche region are the site of numerous caves, many of them having some geological or archaeological importance. Based on radiocarbon dating, the cave appears to have been used by humans during two distinct periods: the Aurignacian and the Gravettian. Most of the artwork dates to the earlier, era.

The Gravettian occupation, which occurred 27,000 to 25,000 years ago, left little but a child's footprints, the charred remains of ancient hearths, carbon smoke stains from torches that lit the caves. The footprints may be the oldest human footprints. After the child's visit to the cave, evidence suggests that due to a landslide which covered its historical entrance, the cave remained untouched until it was discovered in 1994; the soft, clay-like floor of the cave retains the paw prints of cave bears along with large, rounded depressions that are believed to be the "nests" where the bears slept. Fossilized bones include the skulls of cave bears and the horned skull of an ibex. A set of foot prints of a young child and a wolf or dog walking side by side was found in this cave; this information suggests. Hundreds of animal paintings have been catalogued, depicting at least 13 different species, including some or never found in other ice age paintings. Rather than depicting only the familiar herbivores that predominate in Paleolithic cave art, i.e. horses, mammoths, etc. the walls of the Chauvet Cave feature many predatory animals, e.g. cave lions, leopards and cave hyenas.

There are paintings of rhinoceroses. Typical of most cave art, there are no paintings of complete human figures, although there is one partial "Venus" figure composed of what appears to be a vulva attached to an incomplete pair of legs. Above the Venus, in contact with it, is a bison head, which has led some to describe the composite drawing as a Minotaur. There are a few panels of red ochre hand prints and hand stencils made by blowing pigment over hands pressed against the cave surface. Abstract markings—lines and dots—are found throughout the cave. There are two unidentifiable images that have a vaguely butterfly or avian shape to them; this combination of subjects has led some students of prehistoric art and cultures to believe that there was a ritual, shamanic, or magical aspect to these paintings. One drawing overlaid with a sketch of a deer, is reminiscent of a volcano spewing lava, similar to the regional volcanoes that were active at the time. If confirmed, this would represent the earliest known drawing of a volcanic eruption.

The artists who produced these paintings used techniques found in other cave art. Many of the paintings appear to have been made only after the walls were scraped clear of debris and concretions, leaving a smoother and noticeably lighter area upon which the artists worked. A three-dimensional quality and the suggestion of movement are achieved by incising or etching around the outlines of certain figures; the art is exceptional for its time for including "scenes", e.g. animals interacting with each other. The cave contains some of the oldest known cave paintings, based on radiocarbon dating of "black from drawings, from torch marks and from the floors", according to Jean Clottes. Clottes concludes that the "dates fall into two groups, one centered around 27,000–26,000 BP and the other around 32,000–30,000 BP." As of 1999, the dates of 31 samples from the cave had been reported. The earliest, sample Gifa 99776 from "zone 10", dates to 32,900 ± 490 BP; some archaeologists have questioned these dates.

Christian Züchner, relying on stylistic comparisons with similar paintings at other well-dated sites, expressed the opinion that the red paintings are from the Gravettian period and the black paintings are fro

Rite of Passage (novel)

Rite of Passage is a science fiction novel by American writer Alexei Panshin. Published in 1968 as an Ace Science Fiction Special, this novel about a shipboard teenager's coming of age won that year's Nebula Award, was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1969. Rite of Passage is told as a flashback by Mia Havero, the daughter of the Chairman of the Ship's Council, after she has completed her own rite of passage known as Trial, she has survived for thirty days on a colony planet with minimal supplies as part of her initiation into adulthood on one of several giant Ships that survived Earth's destruction in AD 2041. To prevent overpopulation on the Ships, family units can only produce children with the approval of the Ship's Eugenics Council; the penalty for breaking this rule is exile to a colony world. By the year 2198, Mia Havero is twelve years old and, like most of Ship-bound humanity, regards the colonists as "Mudeaters", a derogatory reference to frontier life on a planet; when she accompanies her father on a trading mission to the planet Grainau, Mia learns from the children of a Grainau official that the feeling is mutual.

When Mia returns to the Ship, in addition to her regular studies, she joins a survival class. Survival class is every thirteen-year-old's preparation for Trial, the Ships' rite of passage into adulthood required within three months of turning fourteen. By requiring adolescents to experience the rigors and dangers of life on a colony planet, the Ships hope to avoid stagnation and ensure that those who survive are skilled enough to contribute to Ship life. However, the mortality rate of Trial participants is high, so no expense is spared to train the adolescents about to go through Trial so that they will survive the month spent planetside. Mia's companion in school and in survival class is Jimmy Dentremont, a gifted boy of her own age, their initial rivalry turns to friendship and blossoms into love. Both in and out of survival class, sometimes with Jimmy and sometimes with other children, Mia has a series of adventures that build her confidence, broaden her world, prepare her for Trial, her moral awareness grows during this time, both through formal study of ethical theory and through reflection on the errors she makes as she risks new experiences.

Shortly after her fourteenth birthday and her class are dispatched to the planet Tintera to undergo their Trial. Having quarreled with Jimmy, Mia refuses to team with him, but still chooses the tiger strategy over the turtle strategy. Mia soon encounters a party of rough men on horseback, who are herding Losels, native humanoids the Tinterans treat as domestic animals and use for simple labor, although they may be intelligent enough to be considered slaves. Mia escapes the Losel herders' attempted kidnapping, when she reaches the nearest town, she is repulsed by the fact that all Tinterans are "Free Birthers"—they have no population control, she is disturbed by their apparent practice of enslaving Losels. After a second run-in with the Losel herders leaves Mia badly beaten and robbed of the signalling device she will need to return to her Ship, she is rescued by Daniel Kutsov, an old man, reduced to a simple, manual job as a result of past political activity. Kutsov treats Mia like an adopted grandchild and explains to Mia that her speech gives her away as being from the Ships.

Kutsov tells Mia that Ship people are at best regarded with resentment, at worst killed. Mia has learned that the Tinterans have captured a scoutship from another Ship and arrested one of her fellow Trial participants. While recovering from her injuries in Kutsov's house, she discovers that the prisoner is Jimmy Dentremont. Singlehanded, Mia stages a jailbreak and escapes to the wilderness with Jimmy, but not before the two witness the brutal killing of Kutsov in a roundup of political dissidents. Riding through the night in the pouring rain and Jimmy set up a tent in the woods. While in the tent, they have sex, they arrive the following day at the military headquarters for the territory, where Jimmy retrieves his own signalling device. Before they leave the base, they disable the captured scoutship. Soon after Mia and Jimmy return from Trial, a Shipwide Assembly debates what to do about Tintera; the Tinterans are Free Birthers slavers, a potential danger to the Ship itself. As Mia hears the Assembly's debate, she understands that her views have changed.

Her moral world has broadened to include the Tinterans as people, rather than faceless spear carriers to be used and discarded. Thus she cannot bring herself to condemn the Tinterans en masse. However, under the leadership of Mia's father, who perceives the Tinterans as beyond re-education, the Assembly votes by an eight-to-five margin to destroy Tintera in the name of'moral discipline'. Mia and Jimmy, as adults, prepare to settle into their own living quarters on board Ship. Jimmy offers the hope. Algis Budrys praised Rite of Passage as an "intensely believable, movingly personalized story," saying that "each of the little realized steps" in the story "is so done that one feels a real shock as one realizes that Panshin after all has never been a girl growing up aboard a hollowed-ou


Tetralophodon is an extinct elephantoid genus belonging to the family Anancidae. The genus Tetralophodon was named in the mid-19th century with the discovery of the specialized teeth. Tetralophodon was an elephant-like animal which existed through the late Miocene to the Middle Pliocene epochs 10.9 million years. Like the gomphotheres, to which it was not related, Tetralophodon had four tusks and a trunk, they are believed to have been about 2.58–3.45 m tall at the shoulder and up to 10 tonnes in weight, larger than the size of the present Asian elephant, with a long trunk and incisors ranging up to 2 m long. These incisors are believed to have been used as a defense mechanism; the large, four-cusped cheek teeth of these animals are about 60 mm by 80 mm, about six times the size of a normal human tooth. These low-crowned, bunodont teeth were adapted for crushing and grinding, compared with other mammals during this era that had sharp teeth used for cutting; the teeth indicate a diet of large vegetables.

This diet was aided by the large size and long trunks that enabled these mammals to reach tall, fruit-bearing trees. Some features concerning the teeth, would seem to place Tetralophodon close to the origin of today's elephants; the molars, in particular, are more advanced and specialized than those of the other gomphotheres. These animals were widespread and successful proboscideans, their fossils have been found from the late Miocene to the Middle Pliocene epochs of Europe and Africa. Most fossil records of Tetralophodon are of four-ridged teeth; the North American species, T. campester and T. fricki, have been moved to the genus Pediolophodon in 2007. The majority of the gomphotheres became extinct at the end of the Pleistocene. While the reason for this extinction is still debated, what is known is that these massive elephantoids under the genus Tetralophodon did not survive