Scientist of the Day - Henri Raison du Cleuziou
Henri Raison du Cleuziou, a French archaeologist and historian, was born June 19, 1833. In 1887, du Cleuziou published a book called La création de l'homme et les premiers āges de humanité. This was not the first book to include prehistoric humans in a history of humankind--Louis Figuier had done that in 1870--but it is certainly the most extensive such compilation to appear in the 19th century. Du Cleuziou provides the reader with dozens of quarto-sized wood-engravings of Mousterian tool-makers, Magdalenian burials, and even a Neanderthal battling a cave bear for homesteading rights. The latter is a particularly striking scene (see first image above). Notice that the artist has carefully placed Neanderthal bones and cave bear bones on the floor of the cave in the foreground, thus displaying the evidence that allows one to make reconstructions like this. Other wood engravings shown above depict the hunting of a Dinornis (an extinct giant bird; second image), a ceremonial burial (third image), and a gathering around a fire in a cave (fourth image). You can see a fifth plate, showing a very primitive-looking Pithecanthropus, at our online exhibition, Blade and Bone: The Discovery of Human Antiquity (2012). Dr. William B. Ashworth, Jr., Consultant for the History of Science, Linda Hall Library and Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Missouri-Kansas City. Comments or corrections are welcome; please direct to firstname.lastname@example.org.