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1861 Fossil Man by Boitard

1861 Fossil Man by Boitard

C008/8201

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Credit

PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

M. Boitard's drawing of a decidedly simian fossil man was published after his death in the 1861 book "Paris Avant Les Hommes" (engraving by Moreau). The book places his time-travelling author in other epochs to witness pre-historic scenes - and is possibly the first to use this narrative vehicle in science. This picture is often cited as being inspired by Darwin's work - but an 1838 version of this picture also by Boitard indicates that an ape-like human ancestry was considered long before Darwin (see other Boitard pictures in this collection). The Creature wields a hafted stone axe of a much later neolithic form. At an early stage of evolution there is no evidence that handaxes were hafted. Spear points may have been the first tools to be hafted, and larger axe heads perhaps not until the mesolithic approximately 6000 years ago.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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