The oldest known ancestor of all modern animals has made its public debut and is elevating UCR research thanks to the incredible talents of ITS’ Information Graphic Designer, Sohail Wasif. Faculty from UCR’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences contracted ITS’ graphic design services to bring their groundbreaking research to life. As a result, Sohail’s “Ikaria wariootia” artwork has been featured by media outlets such as the BBC, Reuters, CNN, Vice, Nature, Newsweek, and more!
The researchers submitted a request for a reconstruction of a fossil impression of a creature they believed to be evidence of the oldest bilateral creature on the planet. They provided 3D scans of the impressions of the creature, which Sohail used to create rough sketches. Based on the rough initial sketches and 3D scans, the model of the creature and its burrow path were carefully sculpted in a 3D development environment, with attention to accurate and plausible anatomical detail based on the researchers’ knowledge and expertise.
Perhaps more impressive than the melding of innovative art and research to spread scientific knowledge is the fact that the UCR faculty members were abroad in Australia doing field research and excavation, and therefore collaborated with Sohail on the image remotely. Given the current climate of remote teaching and working, this project demonstrates that interdisciplinary partnerships are an important means of engaging the public in research, and can be just as successful online as offline.