>> Evolutionary Morphing

Abstract

We introduce a technique to visualize the gradual evolutionary change of the shapes of living things as a morph between known three-dimensional shapes. Given geometric computer models of anatomical shapes for some collection of specimens - here the skulls of the some of the extant members of a family of monkeys - an evolutionary tree for the group implies a hypothesis about the way in which the shape changed through time. We use a statistical model which expresses the value of some continuous variable at an internal point in the tree as a weighted average of the values at the leaves. The framework of geometric morphometrics can then be used to define a shape-space, based on the correspondences of landmark points on the surfaces, within which these weighted averages can be realized as actual surfaces.

Awards and publications

  • David F. Wiley, Nina Amenta, Dan A. Alcantara, Deboshmita Ghosh, Yong J Kil, Eric Delson, Will Harcourt-Smith, F. James Rohlf, Katherine St. John, and Bernd Hamann, "Evolutionary Morphing", Proceedings of IEEE Visualization, 2005
  • We received an honorable mention in Science Magazine's 2005 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. The slide show showing our video and other winners can be found at Science Magazine's web site.