How to build a human

by Matthew Cobb

I can’t work out a way of presenting this in a reduced size and allowing you to embiggen it, so this is how it is.

The gif is by Eleanor Lutz, ‘a designer with a molecular biology degree’ and was posted here. Eleanor explains:

I’ve actually wanted to do an embryogenesis GIF for months, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to make it work. Then I stumbled acrossthis awesome GIF on Reddit and got the idea to use a spiraling animation style. (Incidentally, if anyone knows who made that GIF I’d love to know). I’m actually really happy with how this turned out. I made this using 44 animations that are 9 frames each. That’s 396 sketches total – probably the most complicated GIF I’ve made so far. I am a little sad that I wasn’t able to show size properly though. For example. the 24 week fetus is about 40 times heavier than a 12 week fetus (but you can’t tell that from this drawing).

 

57 Comments

  1. Martijn
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    “a designer with a molecular biology degree”

    Yeah, I figured it looked kinda designed.

  2. Dominic
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    That is fabulous!!! Thanks…

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted December 19, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      It is!

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted December 19, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Yes, very cool indeed! 🙂

  3. bonetired
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    No Steve Austin ?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 20, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Steve Austin got his extra bits after birth.

      • Posted December 20, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        Woah…I just had a potentially disturbing thought.

        Might The Six Million Dollar Man fit into the same heroic death / resurrection / salvation archetype as Jesus? Steve dies, lays low in the grave, and magically (“scientifically”) triumphs over death. And then, afterwards, all who trust in him, knowingly or otherwise, are rescued.

        Wonder if that ever occurred to the screenwriters….

        b&

        • Posted December 20, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

          Steve is better than Jesus. He helped people who didn’t believe in him. (Watch out for Marky Mark in the cinematic reboot!)

          /@

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted December 20, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

            Another movie I’m looking forward to seeing (next to the new Terminator movie & the Paddington Bear movie (coming out in January)).

            • Posted December 20, 2014 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

              Wait…you’ve got to be kidding.

              Paddington Bear? Movie?

              b&

              • Posted December 20, 2014 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

                I hope they don’t stint on the marmalade sandwiches!

                /@

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted December 20, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

                Oh yes!

              • Posted December 20, 2014 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

                I suppose it was only a matter of time….

                b&

          • Posted December 20, 2014 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

            Woah…they’re making a movie of The Six Million Dollar Man? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, what with all the other movies they’ve made of old TV shows.

            What’s next? The Greatest American Hero Flies Mr. Rogers to Moonbase Alpha?

            b&

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted December 20, 2014 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

              …and a new Terminator movie! I’m very excited.

              • Posted December 20, 2014 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

                Terminator reboots are trivial, thanks to all the time travel loops.

                But…will Ahnulhuld at least have a cameo? ‘Cuz it ain’t a real Terminator movie without him….

                b&

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted December 20, 2014 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

                Yep Arnold is in it not just as a cameo. And the timeline is all changed with this one.

              • Posted December 20, 2014 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

                Looks like a blast! I’m really glad he left Sacramento to return to Hollywood. And I get the distinct impression he’s having amazing amounts of fun since he has, too.

                b&

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 22, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

          I think it’s a racing certainty that it was in the back of the screenwriter’s minds.

  4. Gordon Hill
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Great link. Thanks. From a single cell, a zygote, to 26,000,000,000 in two hundred eighty day according to my quick Internet search. Love it.

    • Kevin
      Posted December 19, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Yep, kids never stop wanting stuff from their mom. Good grief, if they ever stopped and contemplated just how much they owe to mom.

      Now, if the soul-mongers could just subdue their vexing attitudes towards life and recognize this creature has about as much in common with a sentient human as a reptile does before age ~8 weeks…

      • Gordon Hill
        Posted December 19, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        Not only Mom, but in my case, Gramma, Aunt Bea, my high school Journalism teacher, my wife… I woe some to men, but it pales…

  5. Posted December 19, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Shashank Patel.

  6. Posted December 19, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Thanks, this is really cool.

  7. Hordes
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Honestly, this one of the most beautiful GIF’s on this that I’ve seen so far (to be honest, I haven’t seen much to begin with) but it’s very well done, and beautifully too. I really like it.

  8. W.Benson
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Very didactic. Up to about the 8-week-point, the overall appearance of the human embryo (except size) is similar to the equivalent stage (not chronological age) of other mammals. The placenta, shown in the drawings of stages 8 weeks and younger has for some reason been omitted in later embryos.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted December 19, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      I am sure that such decisions are a necessity b/c of scale. Going from a pin-head sized cleaving and gastrulating embryo to a bean sized embryo inside a golf-ball sized placenta presents problems with showing details of the embryo.

  9. Desnes Diev
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    The embryogenesis GIF is superb and seems scientifically accurate.

    By contrast, the ‘awesome GIF’ is a nice animation but gives a false view of evolution as creatures transforming into others (e.g., monkeys becoming humans). And what is the small green ‘spark’ that exit the human stage and seems to refer to the green blobs at the center of the spiral? Amino acids? Soul?

    Desnes

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted December 19, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Maybe soul. Could also be germ line cells. I see too that the fishapod morphs right into a primate. It is a cool gif, but of course there will be things wrong with it.

  10. Posted December 19, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on SelfAwarePatterns.

  11. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    This is great! I wanted to make a smart ass remark about the Holy Spirit but nah.

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted December 19, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Holy Spiral?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 20, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      smart ass remark about the Holy Spirit

      We’ve had this argument before. Talisker. 100 proof. 15 years if you want excellence, but the 12 yo is perfectly acceptable.

  12. Thud
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    This is very good.
    I can’t help but make some design suggestion; I’ll apologize in advance for such rudeness, but … :
    Reversing the spiral motion, with conception in the middle and birth at the periphery seems slightly more intuitive as I see it.
    Using a logarithmic scale for size could show size changes compactly. Also this would allow for more detail as development proceeds.
    Again, the gif as is is very good and informative. Sorry for the rude comment.

    • Jeff Rankin
      Posted December 19, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Good suggestions!

    • marvol19
      Posted December 20, 2014 at 6:06 am | Permalink

      I completely second the suggestion for reversing the motion – I’m actually somewhat surprised the designer didn’t think of this herself as it seems much more intuitive.
      It makes the scaling logical and easier to at least hint at growth, as well as the starting point “inside the womb” (as it were) and the end point, birth, on the outside.

      Of course that takes nothing away from the very beautiful artwork and design that went into this GIF as it is…

    • Diane G.
      Posted December 20, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      I see the points in favor of reversing the spiral, but I think the existing method works better in that the most drastic changes come early on in the cycle. Working from the outside in, these changes are emphasized far more than if the progression ran the other way.

      In a reversed spiral, all of the early excitement would be passing by to quickly to appreciate it, while the relatively slower outer rings would be filled with the more boring changes of late pregnancy.

  13. Amy
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Hey! Thanks! 🙂

  14. Pliny the in Between
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Simply brilliant.

  15. Jeff Rankin
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Well done – excellent use of color, motion, and space.

  16. Posted December 19, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Pfft! You atheists are silly. This isn’t proof of embryological development, it’s just a drawing! And based on Haeckel no less who’s been shown to be a FRAUD! You all need to open your minds to the truth of how baby’s are delivered to this world by the One True Stork! We need to present both sides of this controversy and let our children decide the truth that’s right for them!

    • Posted December 19, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 20, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        “Teach the controversy”
        But of course. That’s a turtle in the sling, and this is the origin of the universe.
        Of course, we know what birds do to baby chelonians.
        Oh, another big wave. I feel the power of the One true God, and his name is Poseidon!

    • W.Benson
      Posted December 20, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      🙂

  17. Posted December 19, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    This may be one of the first not-nad arguments I’ve seen for using electronic media in place of textbooks in the classroom.

    b&

  18. Alfred Nyby
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I would like to see an infographic if a truly intelligent designer were to build a human. How a human would look if designed by a supreme engineer with unlimited powers and a blank slate. Probably wouldn’t be this Rube Goldberg hodgepodge of faulty parts.

    • prochoice
      Posted December 20, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      1+

  19. Posted December 19, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Sent to all three of my pregnant friends.

  20. Dave
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    This is very cool graphic, particularly for a non-science guy – loves me the science, but I’m just a programmer, not a scientist.

    “Reversing the spiral motion, with conception in the middle and birth at the periphery seems slightly more intuitive as I see it.
    Using a logarithmic scale for size could show size changes compactly. Also this would allow for more detail as development proceeds.”

    Plus, if you did it this way you could put a large catchers mitt at the mouth of the spiral. That would be super cool.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 20, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Wot, no forceps? (Or, for pre-about-1850, some dirty-fingernail mid-wives’ hands.)

  21. bunnycatcher
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    ” I am a little sad that I wasn’t able to show size properly though. For example. the 24 week fetus is about 40 times heavier than a 12 week fetus (but you can’t tell that from this drawing)”

    I wish the speed could be adjusted to show how quickly babies are born globally.

  22. Posted December 19, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    This was such a beautifully designed picture, I’m going to start using it when I’m teaching my developmental psychology class.

    Thanks!

    Tamer

  23. Michael Michals
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this exactly like it is. Every other place I’ve seen it I’ve been unable to make it larger, and I was unable to read the markers on it.

    It’s perfect the size it is, all praise Ceiling Cat.

  24. merilee
    Posted December 21, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    wonderful!


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] h/t Why Evolution Is True […]

%d bloggers like this: