Who doesn’t love a good story? When the world is in a bit of a state, it’s good to retreat to the comforting fiction of books, movies, and video games. It’s worth remembering, though, that plenty of fantastical fiction has been inspired by real-life events, both small and gargantuan.
Better yet, some myths and legends have turned out to be true, and in many cases, the reality has outmatched the stories. Last year, we delved into six ancient tales that were based on real events – so, for 2017, here are six more epics that science has found to have actually taken place.
The Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Head over to southern France, and you may find yourself near the Chauvet-Pont D’Arc cave, one that was once inhabited by our ancestors 37,000 years ago. At this point in time, humanity had yet to engender any sort of advanced civilization – we were largely nomadic, and our cousins, the Neanderthals, had just died out.
This cave wall is an archaeological and anthropological treasure trove. Its walls are adorned with pigmented artwork depicting a plethora of wildlife. From giant deer and bears to lions and even wooly rhinoceroses, these animals are surrounded by images of people going about their vagabond lives. Thanks to this, this site is sometimes referred to as the cave of forgotten dreams.
In 1994, a rather unusual mural was found on one of the cavernous walls, one that was partially overlapping a few of those giant deer. It’s hard to describe, but it looks a lot like a spray of something rising up into the sky. For several decades, most thought this was an abstract image, but this was long thought to be unusual – the imagery in the cave mostly depicted literal things.
A team of researchers stumbled on a marvelous thought. What if it depicted a volcanic eruption? As it so happens, the remnants of a powerful eruption just 35 kilometers (about 22 miles) down the road were found in the Bas-Vivarais volcanic field.
Dating techniques revealed it to have taken place around the time these cave drawings were made – and it would have been so explosive that the people living back then would have certainly been inspired to etch it into stone for all to remember.