Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Art, Film, & Diet

In the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, apes go from picking bugs off of each other and pulling at weeds to playing with bones and meat eating. With the appearance of a black monolith and the eery alignment of the moon, earth, and sun, evolution shifts. The story moves to twirling spacecraft dancing to waltz music from the moon to a computer controlled mission to Jupiter. The men are better looking and the tool is now a HAL 9000 computer with feelings. The film started the career trajectory of the then seventeen year old John Gurche, a paleo-artist and speaker at the Science on Screen program at the Athena Cinema last night.

John Gurche got my attention with an image of brains— white brains models on white paper (image not available)-- as they evolved one after the other and grew in size dramatically. His comment about what got the humanoid brains doubling is diet related. Look at the big brains on homo sapien and thank protein and fat.

His intriguing perspective on 2001: Considering how far we've come, what will the next step in evolution look like?


John Gurche’s work has appeared on magazine covers for National Geographic, Discover, and Natural History. His work can be seen at the Smithsonian, the Field Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History as well as others. His work has appeared in the film Jurassic Park. His new book is Shaping Humanity: How Science, Art, and Imagination Help Us Understand Our Origins.