Science, Science and Society

Science animation evolves another step

Well, it branches further out, at the very least.

My feeds threw up a wonderful post by Carin Bondar (PsiVid) today. Animation student Tyler Rhodes wanted to produce an animation of evolution which was true to the spirit of the process itself – judging by the final product, he succeeded!

Rhodes’ starting point for all of this was a simple drawing of a salamander.  He then had 5 groups of primary school children simulate evolution, over the course of an hour, by drawing their own versions of the creature/creatures they were shown.  Of course, this would result in a number of ‘mutations’ along the way.  Rhodes would then ‘kill off’ 98% of whichever generation he and the kids had been working on, and then he’d restart the drawing process again, using the drawings which had been judged most fit, and thus ‘survived’, as the starting point. 460 drawings in total :)

Apparently, he also threw in environmental effects, such as desertification or volcanoes, of which the children took account in the drawings.  Because evolution ain’t nearly as fun without some seeerious environmental pressure :P

Finally, he animated the 6 generations shown below, adding in sound effects from the children, and his own music.  The animation uses about 100 of the final drawings he accumulated from one group, and he plans to go through the entire process another 4 times, once for each group, and each group getting its own, unique ending (this one ended in Ice Age).

I think it’s wonderful* :)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8X-j0dbZWs[/youtube]

* Although, having said that, I actually find it more difficult to understand (in terms of being an explanation of evolutionary processes) than many other explanations and diagrams I’ve seen.  Perhaps it’s because my degree was in genetics/microbiology…