VALLON-PONT-D’ARC, FRANCE—Saying the discovery sheds light on social dynamics dating as far back as 30,000 BC, an archaeological team in southern France announced Thursday that they had discovered a cave where early humans first had to pretend to like their friend’s artwork. “Based on the artifacts we uncovered at the site, this appears to be the oldest known location where homo sapiens were called over to look at an acquaintance’s red ochre paintings, feign interest in the amateurish representations of hunt scenes, and then express half-hearted surprise at how creative their friend was,” said lead researcher Jean Clemence, showing reporters a crude depiction of a deer on a limestone wall that contemporary onlookers reportedly felt obligated to stare at for a minute or so while uttering statements of approval as if they were impressed. “It’s hard not to look over these works and imagine our earliest ancestors smiling as they kept their observations about shoddy technique to themselves, nodding politely, and then encouraging their companion to ‘keep it up’ before making an excuse to leave. It’s truly a remarkable discovery.” In a related finding, the archaeologists also discovered a nearby wall consisting entirely of outlines of a human hand that they speculate caused a number of prehistoric humans to shake their heads and admit that their friend’s artistic style just wasn’t for them.
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