The caveman cartoons: How prehistoric artists make their paintings MOVE Prehistoric cave artists used cartoon-like techniques to give the impression that their images were moving across cave walls, two French researchers have suggested. A new study of cave art across France – in which animals appear to have multiple limbs, heads and tails – has found that the paintings are actually primitive attempts at animation. When the images are viewed under the unsteady light of flickering flames the images can appear to move as the animals they represent do, the research claims. They make the incredible claim that prehistoric man foreshadowed the invention of cinema by creating art with a rudimentary understanding of the principle of persistence of vision. ‘Some 20 animals, principally horses, have the head, legs or tail multiplied.’ When these paintings are viewed by flickering torchlight the animated effect ‘achieves its full imact’, he added. Mr Azéma and Mr Rivère claim their remarkable theory is backed up by the discovery that ancient engraved discs were used as thaumatropes – formerly claimed to have been invented in 1825 by astronomer John Hershel.