What, No Olduvai George Or Carel Brest van Kempen?

I stumbled across this interesting article on the history of artistic representations of our hominin ancestors written by Richard Milner and Ian Tattersall.


A quote to tide you ever till you get there:

It turned out that some of the ancient “cavemen” were fine artists. In 1879 the first-known painted cave was accidentally discovered at Altamira, Spain; its images of extinct aurochs, bison, and horses stunned both the art and scientific worlds. Only rarely, however, had the ancient artists portrayed themselves, and never with the sophisticated realism they had applied to other animals. That state of affairs cried out for modern artists to reconstruct the appearance of what became an expanding roster of extinct humans and near-humans. The nascent genre of paleoart, which had originated to visualize dinosaurs and other fossil animals, expanded to portray extinct humans as well.
John Lubbock, Darwin’s informal (and only) student, commissioned some of the first paintings in the new genre. The scion of a banking family that owned much of the Kentish countryside surrounding Darwin’s home, Lubbock decorated his indulgent father’s mansion with a collection of primitive stone tools, ethnographic artifacts, glass-enclosed colonies of social insects, and eighteen watercolor paintings of early humans going about their daily lives. The paintings, which Lubbock sponsored during the 1870s, were the work of Ernest Griset, an outstanding natural-history illustrator whose anthropomorphic animal drawings often lent whimsy to the pages of the magazine Punch.

and here is a picture of an artist’s reconstruction of the Dikika child:
Dikika.jpg
The link above takes you to Natural History Magazine, where you will also find this section on intelligent design. Additionally, you will find articles by Dawkins, Weiner and Carroll. Check it out!

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2 Responses

  1. Cool. There’s even a portrait of you there.

  2. The first Creationist book I critiqued (about 40 years ago) argued that evolution could not be true because (among the usual half-baked reasons) the sketches of the “ape-man” (Zinjanthropus, I think) that appeared in newspapers were so varied. No mention was made that some of the sketches were well- to badly reproduced from scientists’ announcements, and some were wholly made up by newspaper “artists” (or their cartoonists).

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