\ Visualizing Evolution: Microraptor: The Four-Winged Dinosaur

Monday, June 30, 2008

Microraptor: The Four-Winged Dinosaur

Last Friday my old classmate Julian shared his master's research project, a 3D animation depicting microevolution in the process of antibody affinity maturation. I've already said this in a comment, but I'd like to restate that the animated simulation of evolution in the movie is absolutely stellar, so do give it a look!

I'd also like to point out that the biomedical communications company Julian works for did some animations for a Nova special last February on a feathered dinosaur called Microraptor. The full episode is available on Nova's website, here.

The scenes they animated were the flight tests of the model dinosaur in a wind tunnel,
this CG feather,and a really dynamic 3-D evolutionary tree:
As an illustrator trapped in the 2nd Dimension, I admit to getting Maya envy occasionally, especially when I see stuff like this. In the future I'd like to explore some of the uses for 3D software in visualizing evolution--functional uses beyond simply making things dynamic-looking (not to undermine the importance of making things look dynamic, of course!).