Stone Age cave painters were realists, painting what they saw, rather than what they imagined, according to a study published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Paintings adorning cave walls in France frequently depict horses. In some cases, the animals have leopard spots on their bodies. Until this study, however, scientists only had evidence to support the existence of one-colored horses.
Using bones and teeth from more than 30 horses dating back as many as 35,000 years, researchers determined that these animals "shared a gene associated with a type of leopard spotting seen in modern horses," according to an AFP report on the findings.