EX AFRICA exhibition in Italy by the zoologist, anthropologist and artist Jonathan Kingdon

Jul 14, 2015

by Richard Dawkins

Trento, Italy, 18th July 2015, I will be speaking at the inauguration of Jonathan Kingdon’s EX AFRICA exhition: “Explorations of Art and Science”.

Jonathan is surely our greatest living animal artist, as well as being a deeply knowledgeable scientific zoologist.

His many books on zoology, zoogeography, anthropology and evolution include Lowly Origins, Self-Made Man, Island Africa, and beautifully illustrated field guides to African mammals. Most importantly he is the principal editor, author and artist of the magisterial 6-volume Mammals of Africa. His art – drawing, painting, sculpture – is informed by deep zoological knowledge, including evolutionary knowledge, so that one might almost call him a post-Darwinian Leonardo.

Here’s an interview that I did of him in Africa (raw footage, which was then edited down for television) in this case about human evolution rather than about his art.

And here are some examples of his art:

 

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Drawings of crested rat Lophiomys imhausi

 

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Page of African mammals

 

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“Evolution on the Wing”. Mural.

 

And here is Jonathan’s sculptural lament for The Last Quagga, shot for “sport” or for a trophy.

5 comments on “EX AFRICA exhibition in Italy by the zoologist, anthropologist and artist Jonathan Kingdon

  • 1
    maria melo says:

    A funny thing happened when watching the vídeo with some pauses, I just thought they couldn’t be foraging twice (I myself repeat things too much and only stop repeating when someone guesses that t am about to repeat myself). They were indeed foraging twice.



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  • A funny thing happened

    …on the way to this forum.

    The two foraging segments were a bit different in regard to details. Mr. Kingdon explains our ancestor past very well; being taller than average, I now better understand why grounds keeping is so uncomfortable!



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  • 3
    maria melo says:

    ” I now better understand why grounds keeping is so uncomfortable!”

    I don´t think it is uncomfortable, but I am not tall .
    it depends on flexibility and height too?
    It is difficult to me to accept it is not comfortable, as it seems to me a natural posture, otherwise humans wouldn´t adopt it?
    It is mentioned that people use not to be tall,, that it´s a recentn feature.
    Despite being tall, he made hiself comfortable by keeling, instead of crouching, but again, it is common among pre-history.



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  • Nice response, can’t argue with any of your points.

    Will attempt to clarify:

    For me personally, it seems to take forever and a day to remove one dandelion, or pick up a few walnuts – seemingly a waste of energy.

    Conversely, more than happy to scurry up an apple tree I am, to find a prime specimen! A successful hunt, as it were.



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  • @OP – Here’s an interview that I did of him in Africa (raw footage, which was then edited down for television) in this case about human evolution rather than about his art.

    There is some news on that subject here:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34531861

    Fossil teeth place humans in Asia ‘20,000 years early’

    Fossil finds from China have shaken up the traditional narrative of humankind’s dispersal from Africa.

    Scientists working in Daoxian, south China, have discovered teeth belonging to modern humans that date to at least 80,000 years ago.

    This is 20,000 years earlier than the widely accepted “Out of Africa” migration that led to the successful peopling of the globe by our species.

    “It was very clear to us that these teeth belonged to modern humans [from their morphology]. What was a surprise was the date,” Dr María Martinón-Torres, from University College London (UCL), told BBC News.

    “All the fossils have been sealed in a calcitic floor, which is like a gravestone, sealing them off. So the teeth have to be older than that layer. Above that are stalagmites that have been dated using uranium series to 80,000 years.

    This means that everything below those stalagmites must be older than 80,000 years old; the human teeth could be as old as 125,000 years, according to the researchers.

    In addition, the animal fossils found with the human teeth are typical of the Late Pleistocene – the same period indicated by the radioactive dating evidence.

    Details of the work are outlined in the journal Nature.



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