The Evolution of Paleontological Art
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS
Fossils have stirred the imagination globally for thousands of years, starting well before they were recognized as the remains of once-living organisms and proxies of former worlds. This volume samples the history of art about fossils and the visual conceptualization of their significance starting with biblical and mythological depictions, extending to renditions of ancient life as it flourished in long-vanished habitats, and on to a modern understanding that fossil art conveys lessons for the betterment of the human condition. The 29 papers and accompanying artwork illustrate how art about fossils has come to be a significant teaching tool not only about evolution of past life, but also about conservation of our planet for the benefit of future generations.
Fossil illustrations in three dimensions: Ward’s models at Cornell University
Published:February 24, 2022
William R. Brice*, 2022. "Fossil illustrations in three dimensions: Ward’s models at Cornell University", The Evolution of Paleontological Art, Renee M. Clary, Gary D. Rosenberg, Dallas C. Evans
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Some fossil examples are rare, but the educational value of such samples is undeniable. One way around this dilemma, and one that was popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s, was to have students study 3-D models; this solution was used by many universities, among them Cornell University. One of the main, but not the only, suppliers of such models was Ward’s Natural Science Establishment of Rochester, New York, USA, which was founded in 1862 by Henry Augustus Ward (1834–1906). Even today the use of virtual, computer-generated 3-D models in classroom laboratories indicates how important 3-D visualization continues to be. But a computer image cannot be held in one’s hands, so the use of 3-D printer technology allows students to create their own physical models. However, none of these technologies can totally replace seeing and working with actual specimens or life-sized reproductions. Thus, museum displays are still an important aspect of educational activity for both students and the general public. This chapter explores how Cornell University made use of the models purchased from Ward’s in the late 1800s and the fate of some of these replicas.