Illustrating Neanderthals – Zdeněk Burian

Our perception of our close cousins the Neanderthals (H. neanderthalensis) has changed dramatically over the last four decades or so.  Once thought to be brutish thugs with limited intelligence recent discoveries have revealed that the “apemen” of prehistory were just as sophisticated as ourselves and their demise and eventual extinction remains a mystery.  When Everything Dinosaur team members posted up some Ice Age inspired artwork by the famous 20th century wildlife illustrator and palaeoartist Charles Robert Knight earlier this month*, we were asked by a blog fan to post up some similarly themed artwork by Zdeněk Burian.

The Illustration of a Group of Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) by Zdeněk Burian

Ancient hominins by Zdenek Burian.

Neanderthals depicted a quite primitive “ape-men”.

Picture credit: Zdeněk Burian

Burian was an equally influential 20th century artist.  He produced numerous illustrations of prehistoric mammals and Ice Age scenes, but we thought we would reflect on how our views have changed regarding what is arguably the most closely related** hominin species to our own – Homo neanderthalensis by posting artwork from Burian illustrating a Neanderthal campsite.

To view the post* which features the Ice Age artwork by Charles R. Knight: A Herd of Woolly Mammoths by Charles R. Knight.

The exact taxonomic relationship between Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis remains controversial.  Some palaeoanthropologists consider H. neanderthalensis to be a sub-species of H. sapiens, whilst others suggest that both H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis are descended from Homo heidelbergensis.

Visit Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website: Everything Dinosaur.