The series ‘eXpedition: The Paleotrilogy – Monsters, Skulls and Shells’ (working title) tells – in seven episodes – the story of the very important role that Limburg has played in the past 130 years in our thinking about evolution: the evolution of the world, of the animal kingdom and of humans.
The first two episodes focus on the Maastricht Mosasaur fossils – the ‘monster’ from the title – and how these fossils formed the beginning of thinking about evolution as a biological principle around 1800.
The third to fifth episodes tell the story of Eugène Dubois from Limburg who, in the late 19th century, discovered a fossil femur, molar and skull – the second part of the title – in Java; these turned out to be the remains of the ‘missing link’: the missing link between man and ape. With these finds, the conclusion (unthinkable to many at the time) became inevitable, that man is also the product of an evolutionary process.
The sixth through seventh episodes focus on an entirely different find by Eugène Dubois: a 500,000-year-old shell with some incised line patterns. This pattern was only recently discovered by the Limburg marine biologist and paleoecologist José Joordens. It turned out to be a discovery with far-reaching consequences: this could well be the very oldest evidence of pre-human symbolic thinking, and even of art.
All these discoveries and stories can be traced directly back to Limburg. We can therefore justifiably say that the cradle of evolution was in Limburg.