I ran across this cute artwork illustrating the evolution of man and woman by Calgary artist, Tom Rhodes, on his blog, Plan to Fail. In his post, he explains that it was a project for his figure illustration class where he was given free reign to pick his subject. He picked evolution. But instead of running off and drawing half-monkey hybrids, he rushed to the University of Calgary’s Archaeology department to seek council from experts, notably Dr. Anne Katzenberg.
The result is more cartoony than most scientific illustrations, but I think it does an appealing job of representing the changes that have taken place over the last million and a half odd years since Homo habilis.
My only concern is the noticable shift from dark skin to light over the course of the piece. Rhodes justifies this by appealing to the fact that our ancestors tended to migrate north, with a corresponding lightening of the skin. However, the earliest Homo sapiens are likely to have sported dark skin, as they required skin pigmentation to protect them from UV radiation in the absence of the hair that covered their forebears.
But hey, this isn’t a scientific illustration, it’s an illustration of something scientific.
The image is below the fold, as it may offend some interminable prudes (it does contain nudity – specifically, nude primates!). In fact, if you are an interminable prude, and you do click to see the picture, I’ve probably offended you twice.