10 Dogs Who Made History


Robot Discovers an Archaeological Wonder

Francois Hollande, Lascaux 4
French President Francois Hollande visits Lascaux 4, a new replica of the Lascaux cave, in 2016. The real Lascaux cave was closed to the public in 1963, as the influx of visitors, moisture and light threatened the prehistoric artwork. REGIS DUVIGNAU/AFP/Getty Images

It was 1940, and France was knee-deep fighting World War II. During these tumultuous times, a teenager named Marcel Ravidat decided to go for a walk near the village of Montignac in southwest France, with his dog, Robot. Robot spotted a rabbit and, as dogs often do in such situations, gave chase. As rabbits often do in such situations, the rabbit scampered away and disappeared down a hole near an uprooted tree. Ravidat threw some stones down the hole and heard them clank deep underground.

Intrigued, the teen returned a few days later with some friends and climbed down the hole. There they found an awe-inspiring site — some 2,000 colorful paintings that were perfectly preserved within a cave. Although there were paintings in other nearby caves, the artwork in this one was pristine, protected from water by a layer of chalk. The Lascaux Cave paintings were an archeological treasure created by Paleolithic people sometime between 30,000 to 12,000 B.C.E.

Some have questioned whether Robot actually discovered the cave. One of Ravidat's friends who was there, never mentioned the pooch during a 1963 interview. Even the date of the cave's discovery has been disputed [sources: Thomas, Selwood]. But we're going let this dog have his day and give him credit for finding this archaeological wonder.