Art in research award: what if Art imitates the Tree of Life?

Its my first art award since 2nd grade! Last week I won first place in two categories as well as Overall Best Entry in Yale’s inaugural Art in Research Competition, which is sponsored by the Office of the Provost. Great to get some recognition for this work.

In response I wrote this post for the Jetz Lab with an intro vignette and shameless self quote:

“Life imitates Art,” was the bold claim of Oscar Wilde, “more than Art imitates Life”. However, what if Art imitates the Tree of Life? That question was pursued by Jetz Lab postdoctoral researcher Nathan Upham as regards the evolutionary tree of life for Mammalia, the lineage of furry animals that spans back 180-million-years to the common ancestor of humans, kangaroos, and duck-billed platypuses. In attempting to communicate the vast evolutionary history of mammals, Upham stumbled on an artistically pleasing solution. “We wanted to communicate about the mammal diversification in both an educational and scientific way,” said Upham. “Images are the most efficient way we can communicate our science.”

I also printed the poster in 196” x 72” format (i.e., “door size”) to enable native reading of the species tips– its a bit blurry, but we’re nearly there: