Score Another Accomplishment for Da VinciHe was one of the driving artistic forces of the Italian Renaissance, an influence on all art that came after, an engineer and scientist, inventor, someone capable of drawing with one hand while writing a treatise backwards with the other, and ... the father of evolution?
Not quite, but apparently Leonardo Da Vinci was so convinced of the close relations between apes, monkeys, and men that he didn't consider it a point that needed argument:
He explicitly says "apes, monkeys and the like" are not merely related to humans but indeed "almost of the same species". In other words, Leonardo, writing simply on the basis of his own observations more than 500 years ago, says pretty much the same thing the modern science writer Jared Diamond, on the basis of DNA evidence, argues in his book The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee. Nor is this a stray observation. Leonardo says it again, in a note on internal anatomy: "Describe the various forms of the intestines of the human species (delle spetie umana), of apes and suchlike. Then, in what way the leonine species differ ... "Next thing you know, someone will find somewhere in his notebooks descriptions of the calculus, quantum physics, velcro, and the smoothie.