Saturday, May 14, 2011

The World's Earliest Joke

Many prehistoric (and some extant) hunters and warriors made use of the spear-thrower to increase the efficiency of their weapon.  This particular example was found in a Paleolithic cache in a cave in Mas d'Azil, France.  At the end of the thrower where the spear sits, an ibex is seen crouching, and, well, relieving himself.  Apparently, this humor was appreciated by the Paleolithic hunters of the Pyrenees mountains, as a number of similar weapons have been found (some more are included in the sketching).  Even in early times, man had the ability to treat a solemn topic, the killing of other animals, including humans, with the levitas of a modern comedian.


  1. For some reason people assume that old civilizations didn't have jokes or a sense of humor. Of course not a whole lot of it is preserved like this, but they still had it! Humans have always had jokes and songs and affairs and whatnot, the human condition doesn't change very much. There's an xkcd about this I think:

  2. This is actually pretty interesting and changes the conception of prehistoric hunters as no nonsense individuals. Even though the comedic values of early societies may be difficult to ascertain or compare to today's standards, small things such as the crouching ibex. It is clear that even though the weapon is regarded as violent and a means of killing, hunters/warriors still found time to add some personal comedy.


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