Ode to Australopithecus

My finders sang triumphant songs
And said, “This cranium from Taungs
To the long-sought missing-link belongs,
        We've found it
So we will claim the honor for
South Africa, whilst we explore
The neighborhood to find some more
        Around it.”


They sent me quickly to the Cape
Where leaned men discussed my shape
And said, “Now is it man or ape,
        Or neither?”
One wise professor boldly said
“I’ve not the slightest doubt this head
Belongs to something live or dead,
        Or neither.”

“Australopithecus” by Walter Rose, dated 15/6/1933.

(Courtesy of the Dart Archive, University of Witwatersrand)

And this, dear reader, shows only two stanza of the epic narrative that Rose uses to detail the life history and paleoecology of the fossil. It's gems like this in the archives that make me love being a historian.

Taung child and Raymond Dart, ca. 1960.  Courtesy of the Dart Archive, University of Witwatersrand.

Taung child and Raymond Dart, ca. 1960.  Courtesy of the Dart Archive, University of Witwatersrand.