How to build a human

December 19, 2014 • 6:48 am

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).

 

58 thoughts on “How to build a human

      1. 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&

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

          2. 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&

              1. 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&

              2. 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&

  1. 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.

    1. 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…

      1. 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…

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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…

    2. 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.

  6. 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!

      1. “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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. ” 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.

  10. 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.

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