04 March 2014

Deeper Dive on the PhyloPic T-shirt

Just to review:
  •  PhyloPic is a website featuring freely-reusable silhouettes of organisms. Anybody may submit images under a Creative Commons license.
  • I am attempting to raise funds to host PhyloPic for the next two years by selling a PhyloPic T-shirt, depicting the past half-billion years of our evolutionary lineage with free silhouettes.
We've come a long way.
In this post I'll go into more detail about what, exactly, is on the shirt, starting with the final silhouette and going back in time. In each entry, the taxonomic name links to a page for the image, with artist and license information. Some terminology first: "concestor" means "most recent shared ancestor", and "stem-X" means "not X, but more closely related to X than to anything else alive".

The final silhouette is a modern human, Homo sapiens sapiens, specifically a Melanesian woman. Melanesians and other Oceanians represent one of the furthest migrations of humanity from our original geographical range.

Immediately behind her is another Homo sapiens sapiens, this one a Subsaharan African man. Subsaharan Africa is the wellspring of modern humanity. (This isn't meant to imply an ancestordescendant relationship between the two figures; they're just coexisting members of the same subspecies.)