Feb 14, 2014
When Steven Spielberg was looking for a dinosaur expert for Jurassic park, he chose John Gurche. Steven Spielberg kind of gets to pick whoever he wants, so that’s a pretty good sign that John Gurche is the best in the world at what he does. As a paleoartist, Gurche works closely with the world’s foremost paleontologists to figure out from fossils that are often millions of years old what the creatures that left them behind would have looked like. In Shaping Humanity: How Science, Art, and Imagination Help Us Understand Our Origins, Gurche explains the work he did for the Smithsonian Institution’s Hall of Human Origins. Commissioned to make fifteen sculptures covering six million years of human evolution, Gurche explains how a hole in the base of the skull tells us which ancestors walked upright and why we currently think our ancestors’ eyes might have turned white. In this interview, we explore how through accidental finds and scientific missteps we have teased out our present understanding of human evolution and in the end through Mr. Gurche’s work and words we develop a shared connection with a past before recorded history.For more of Mr. Gurche’s work, visit http://www.gurche.com/. His work is amazing.Shaping Humanity: How Science, Art, and Imagination Help Us Understand Our Origins is available on Amazon. It’s one of the most beautiful, fascinating books you’ll ever own.