1. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    At least they have a woman carving the wheel. Given PZ’s objection, is that a veiled form of misogyny? I don’t think so and enjoy the unconventional depiction, regardless of how stereotypical the fantasy trope.

  2. robro says

    The people of Palau carved large stone wheels from limestone, but they used them to represent value not transportation. They look like the stereotype caveman wheel. Some think the first wheel was the potter wheel. If so, it could have been stone or wood, and easily fashioned by any able-bodied person with a need to make pottery.

  3. marcoli says

    Another nitpick is that it implies our ancestors knuckle walked. At least I am of the view that our lineage palm walked like most primates.

  4. Derek Vandivere says

    #3 / Robro: Also on the isle of Yap. Apparently, the ‘coins’ got so big that they couldn’t be moved.

  5. chigau (ever-elliptical) says

    and the Flintstones were white.
    That’s Wilma doing the painting.

  6. says

    @slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) #1

    At least they have a woman carving the wheel.

    I think that is the whole point of the picture. The man does the proud walking – and the women do the actual working.

    In this context I interpreted the wheel at first glance as a millstone, even before reading PZs commentary. Since milling was initially done primarily by women, it does not seem at all improbable that millstones were also invented by them.

  7. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    also looks like the alphabet is being invented by a woman, while the man just doodles animals on the wall.
    gee I didn’t know who invented the letters for the Romans to use.
    Yeah, the whole point of this cartoon is spin the usual cliche around, to spotlight that women were integral contributors to human evolution, not just baby factories to be dragged around by the hair.

  8. says

    I think the person dooing “doodling animals” on left is also a woman. It shows progression from doodling animals to more and more abstract depictions.

  9. Mark Dowd says

    Well what else do you expect the wheel to be made of, wood or something? That’s what witches are made of!

  10. says

    Of course they’re pale! It’s from a cartoonist for the New Yorker, and as everyone knows, there are no brown people in New York.

  11. Nicolai says

    The woman could be carving a stone with a hole in it for decorative or ceremonial purposes, such as at Mên-an-Tol (ên-an-Tol) in Cornwall (United Kingdom) where the central stone has a hole in it.

    It’s an amusing diagram none the less, even if the likely wheel-making at the side is implausible.

  12. robro says

    Charly @13 — chigau’s observation at #14 lends evidence to your observation that the animal doodler is a woman. The female in front of the chimpanzee seems to be sharpening a spear point. So, women are doing the work and innovating, while the men just strut and loose hair.

    Note that the men don’t need clothes because they have nothing to hide. There are no penises in this picture, even where you might expect to see such device.

  13. says


    The women are the only ones wearing clothing.

    Honestly, it’s only men who would not get that immediately. :shakes head:

  14. says

    Chigau @23: I could have put more black at the right of the picture, perhaps, but I was feeling too lazy to alter hairstyles. Maybe I could have given Man #4 or Spearmaking Woman (H. erectus, I think) more Asian colouring, though.

  15. numerobis says

    Wait, but the ape at left nurturing its baby isn’t clothed either. Surely you can’t have a male being nurturing!

  16. Tethys says

    I give them credit for an attempt at inclusiveness by showing women doing and making. I wish they wouldn’t start with chimpanzees, because the fur color is reinforcing several misconceptions about human evolution. The LCA was a primate specialized for living in trees, like this adorable specimen. This one appears to be calling it’s friends over to hang out for awhile.

    Gibbons also come in the same range of coat and skin tones as humans, and are quite capable of bipedal locomotion too.


    I was feeling too lazy to alter hairstyles.

    Um… you are correct that it would be nice if the far right dude had more melanin than those to the left, but it might also be nice to remember that genes for straight hair are not exclusively white european traits.

  17. robert79 says

    Seriously… has no one noticed that in this cartoon, all the men are doing is “less slouching” while all the great works of civilisation are due to women?

  18. Tethys says

    Subverting linearity by encircling the traditional and incorrect depiction of the evolution of MAN with all sorts of women inventing technology is sort of the point of the cartoon IMO.

  19. says

    Tethys @26: True, though the only human in the whole ensemble with non-straight-ish hair appears to be the cave-drawing woman at left.

  20. Tethys says

    If you click to the artists twitter feed, he is also having it pointed out that his far right dude is awfully white. It is clear from the drawing that this artist is trying to make non-sexist art, yet failed to notice the racism inherent in the traditional, false, chimpanzees to human male depiction that is so common.

  21. Lofty says

    No dicks or nipples, the facebork safe cartoon. The stone disc is definitely a worry though, looks like a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist yet.

  22. NYC atheist says


    For real though, people like to pretend NY is some sort of post racism utopia.

  23. chigau (ever-elliptical) says

    re: my #9
    Wilma always wore a white ‘dress’. Wilma was a ginger.
    Fred wore the yellowish with black spots ‘dress’. Fred had black hair.

  24. stripeycat says

    Could we not all have to wear low-necked minidresses, please? Somehow, skimpy clothing seems more sexualised than bollock naked. Otherwise, hilarious.