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Flayed aardvark. Jonathan Kingdon. Photo © O. Negra, MUSE - Science-Museum

Evolution is constantly producing incredible structures, shapes and patterns – both in the inner workings of animal bodies and in their external appearances.

This exhibition of artworks by Jonathan Kingdon showcases a lifetime of observations in nature, through stunning paintings, sculptures and drawings, displayed amongst specimens of the animals that inspired them.

Scientists continuously ask how species come to be unique, but few go beyond using words to explain their theories. In exploring meaning behind the visible appearance of bones, muscles, feathers and fur, Kingdon uses art to communicate his science.

As well as being one of the world’s greatest naturalists – having produced some of the most important studies of African mammals and biodiversity – Kingdon has developed a wealth of artistic practices which seek to explore and explain some of the how’s and whys of animal evolution. This exhibition is a biologist’s effort to understand the evolutionary pressures that create visual signals in nature.

The exhibition is found in two parts. First, in the cases across the Lower Gallery are around 30 drawings, displayed amongst the species that inspired them. Second, in the room off the far side of the Lower gallery are sculptures, drawings and paintings that result from decades of observing the behaviour of wild animals.