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.
Foraminiferal art through the ages
Published:February 24, 2022
Foraminifera are single-celled organisms with and without shells (tests). They have an abundant fossil record over the past 545 million years and presence in modern oceans. The art of forams is dominated by hand-drawn scientific illustrations to scanning electron microscopic images done over the past 455 years, providing vital knowledge about shelled forams. From 1665 to 1835, forams were assigned to micro-invertebrates rather than single-celled forms. With more than 75,000 publications and nearly 50,000 described species of forams, illustrations must number more than 200,000. The illustrations include a range from simple line drawings through shaded ink and pencil renderings, sometimes even colored, to photographs and scanning electron micrographs. Forams also appear in other art forms: The Pyramids at Giza in Egypt, hand-sized models, jewelry, flooring, stamps, coins, sculptures, and a Chinese Foraminiferal Sculpture Park. Foraminiferal art, although very abundant in many forms, has not caught the attention of many people outside of foraminiferology.