Science Art: Heidelberg Man, by Zdenek Burian.

That’s Homo heidelbergensis stopping for a quick sip of water, as imagined by Zdenek Burian.

Zdenek Burian was possibly Eastern Europe’s (and maybe the world’s) most influential scientific illustrator. A devotee of Charles Knight, he brought ancient scenes to life, starting as an art student in the 1930s in his native Czechoslovakia. He partnered up with paleontologist Josef Augusta, and unlike the illustrators of the previous century, painted dinosaurs as active, social creatures.

Not that he only painted dinosaurs. Everything from ammonoids to early humans provided inspiration for his pens and brushes. And as a magazine illustrator, he also painted indigenous people, pulp heroes and ordinary folks having fun. (Not to mention portraits of past genius illustrators.)

But it was his knack for bringing the ancient past to light that made him memorable. Once he was in his 60s, he began illustrating books in the U.S. and beyond.