10 minutes

Watch as the whale becomes itself: slowly, slowly, from land to sea, through deep time

Descending from creatures that were terrestrial and then amphibious before they were aquatic, cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) possess some of the animal kingdom’s most fascinating evolutionary histories. This video from the UK artist Jordan Collver traces the evolution of the sperm whale from the amphibious Pakicetus to its present form. After depicting six distinct points in evolutionary history, Collver morphed his still illustrations into one another, incrementally, over ten minutes. The resulting animation, Whalevolution, emphasises that a single strand of evolutionary history isn’t characterised by a series of distinct species, but rather, as Charles Darwin put it, an ‘infinitude of connecting links’. You can find an abridged 25-second version of the animation here, and Collver’s six original illustrations here.

Video by Jordan Collver

Essay/History of Science
Does science need mavericks?

Staid and conformist, science risks losing its creative spark. Does it need more mavericks, or are they part of the problem?

Adrian Currie

Universe in a bubble

Maybe we don’t have to speculate about what life is like inside a bubble. It might be the only cosmic reality we know

J Richard Gott