Theodore Roosevelt on human evolution

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Once upon a time, the U.S. had a President who could write articles about human evolution: Theodore Roosevelt!

Frontispiece from Men of the Old Stone Age
Frontispiece from Men of the Old Stone Age

In 1916, the former president wrote a long illustrated book review of Men of the Old Stone Age, by Henry Fairfield Osborn. Osborn was long-time curator of vertebrate paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, and his book was the first major American volume devoted to human evolution.

National Geographic commissioned the review from Roosevelt, running it accompanied by illustrations from the book. The review itself is more or less a reprise of the book’s major themes, with few flashes of the characteristic Roosevelt “Bully!” personality. But can you imagine any recent president writing this?

Lord Avebury's "Prehistoric Times" was written when it was still necessary to argue with those who disbelieved in the antiquity of man, their reasons being substantially similar to those of the other conservatives who a couple of centuries earlier treated as impious the statement that the earth went round the sun.

Oh, yeah!