In the fall of 2000, Toronto Star cartoonist Theo Moudakis responded to a sudden escalation in the number and severity of traffi c accidents in the city with an editorial cartoon depicting three naked male fi gures lined up in profi le against a featureless background, and labeled, from left to right, ‘Modern Man,’ ‘Neanderthal Man,’ and ‘Toronto Drivers’ (Figure 8.1). The image is undeniably funny and effective, but the question is, why? There is nothing intrinsically humorous or even meaningful in the three fi gures taken individually, with the partial exception of the last one, and then only when we include the caption. Otherwise, it is simply a drawing of a chimplike animal that has picked up a set of keys. Nevertheless, the drawing as a whole delivers the instantly recognizable message that these vehicular yahoos are a degenerate form of human life. This reading does not have to be spelled out for us in detail: We grasp it immediately as an inversion of the classic “Ascent of Man” illustration that has for decades been reproduced in magazines, textbooks, journals, and even museum dioramas as a kind of visual shorthand for the idea of evolution in general, and of Darwinism in particular. For the cartoonist, it is precisely this widespread familiarity that allows him to both reference and play with the image in creating his deliberately judgmental message. The question remains, nonetheless, as to how, when, and why certain kinds of imagery acquired not only a near-universal association with Darwinism, but also a decidedly evaluative functionality. How, in short, did popular Darwinism become not only a standard referent in Western visual culture but also, more specifi cally, a ‘mocking meme’ in the cartoonist’s toolbox? This essay addresses these questions, if only provisionally.