2019 AMI Online Salon

Deciphering Fossils with Ecomorphology

Project Details

  • Company/Institution: University of Toronto

  • Entrant Name: Lucas Lin

  • Membership Type: Student Submission

  • Other Contributors:                         

  • Address: Toronto, Canada

  • Client: Dave Mazierski

  • Medium/software used: Maya, Zbrush, After Effects, Horos, Photoshop

  • Final presentation format: Animation

  • Primary Audience: Paleontologists and educated lay audience

Project Description

‘Deciphering Fossils with Ecomorphology’ is an animation that compares the feet of Macrophalangia canadensis, an extinct oviraptor, to that of three modern birds as an example of how ecomorphology research can be used to gain insight into the origin of flight. Ecomorphology compares the morphology of an animal with how it relates to its environment, and typically uses ecomorph plots and still images to convey comparative morphological findings. These methods do not effectively communicate the subject matter to lay audiences or paleontologists as: (1) they are highly technical, making them difficult to put into context and, (2) they do not depict comparative dynamic motion such as flexion and extension. Designed and produced for a lay audience at the Royal Ontario Museum, this animation communicates the value of ecomorphology to our understanding of extinct species behaviour in an accessible and compelling manner.