UAB Darwin Day 2018 features cave art lecture, exhibition on Manitou Cave

Written by Shannon Thomason, UAB NEWS

  Paleoanthropologist Genevieve Petzinger

Paleoanthropologist Genevieve Petzinger

    Darwin Day, an international event held in honor of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin, celebrates the advancement of science, education and human well-being. Every year, the University of Alabama at Birmingham hosts events in support of Darwin’s legacy and the global celebration.

This year’s Darwin Day at UAB is set for Thursday, Feb. 8, with an exhibition of artwork exploring Manitou Cave of Alabama and a lecture by Canadian paleoanthropologist Genevieve von Petzinger on her research into cave art. Darwin Day is presented by the College of Arts and Sciences’ departments of AnthropologyArt and Art History, and Biology, with support from The Jemison Fund. The events are free and open to the public.

Visual artwork exploring the habitat and ecology of Manitou Cave will be featured in “One Drop at a Time.” The one-day-only exhibition is in the Department of Art and Art History’s Project Space, located on the ground floor of the UAB Humanities Building at 900 13th St. A free, public reception is scheduled from 3-5 p.m. During the reception at 4 p.m., Manitou Cave of Alabama founder and director Annette F. Reynolds will deliver brief remarks.

Located in DeKalb County near Fort Payne, Manitou Cave has been a place of early aboriginal shelter, ceremony and Cherokee inscriptions. Today the cave is the focus of conservation efforts by Manitou Cave of Alabama, Inc., to preserve this living natural museum and world treasure. 

Selected works by UAB students from beginning and intermediate-level drawing courses taught by Assistant Professor Doug Baulos, MFA, will be on view. Works by UAB student-artists Laura Benson, Frances Hackney, Thaddeus Mickler, Sophie McVicar and Irasema Quezada will also be featured, along with work by DAAH Program Coordinator Jared Ragland with collaborator Cary Norton.

At 6 p.m. in the UAB Alumni House, 1301 10th Ave. South, students and faculty members from across campus will participate in a poster session highlighting their newest research in the sciences and social sciences. The work of undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs and faculty researchers will be included.

Immediately following the poster session in the Alumni House, von Petzinger will present a lecture, “From Cave Walls to Web Pages: The Power of Communication to Change the World,” at 7 p.m. Von Petzinger’s research focus is cave art painted by early humans in Europe between 10,000 and 40,000 years ago, specifically the geometric signs found at many of these sites. Von Petzinger, a paleoanthropologist and doctoral candidate at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, explores how these signs can help to better understand early human cognition, communication and use of symbolism. Her work has been widely featured in national and international media and academic publications. She was selected a TED Senior Fellow in 2013; view her TED talk about Ice Age signs online.