Archive by category | Palaeontology

Paleoart: painting the deep past

Paleoart: painting the deep past

The term ‘paleoart’ might make many people think of fading ochre sketches of aurochs and other fearsome Ice Age animals in caves such as Lascaux, in southwestern France. That, however, is Palaeolithic art. Paleoart – graphic depictions of long-gone creatures and environments – is an oft-overlooked genre with roots in the early eighteenth century, when the study of extinct animal fossils took off, and both scientists and the public began to imagine a deep past.  Read more

Ancient DNA and the rise of ‘celebrity science’

Ancient DNA and the rise of ‘celebrity science’

Whether it’s about Neanderthal-human interbreeding or the prospect of resurrecting woolly mammoths, the public cannot seem to hear enough about ancient-DNA research. For science historian Elizabeth Jones, ancient DNA offered an opportunity to study the development of a field in the crucible of intense public interest. She defines the phenomenon as “celebrity science”, in which scientists harness attention to generate interest in their work and capture future funding.  Read more

Back to the Jurassic

Back to the Jurassic

If you have not seen Jurassic Park yet, I envy you. One of the greatest creature features of all time, Steven Spielberg’s tale of human hubris and a dinosaur theme park going horribly wrong is right up there with the original 1933 film King Kong, directed by Merian Cooper. I still remember seeing Jurassic Park for the first time — amazingly, 22 years ago — after which I reviewed it glowingly in Books and Arts.  Read more