scientific animations


The Asian Unicorn, Saola

Although very shy at first, it has become quite docile and does not show any fear of us. It came very close to the spot where we were staring at him, being more curious than afraid. We had the opportunity to touch it and even feed it but we preferred not to do so, as we had agreed before this adventure not to interfere in any way with the life and equilibrium that surrounds us.”

-Clement Van Burden diaries.

We all know the Saola, The Asian Unicorn was claimed to be discovered in 1993. It was a big discovery. It surprised many biologist how an animal such as big as the Saola ( like a regular deer) could be hidden from humans for such a long time. My Great Grand Father have the illustration above, done in 1821, which resembles the Saola discovered a few decades ago.

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Humphry Davy, one of history’s finest scientists, travelled through Britain and Europe like most independent men of the time. As he went, he recorded the wonders he saw with sketches in pencil and iron gall ink. With a scientist’s approach, he had an eye for native animals as well as landscapes. These sketches are of a bird from a trip to Italy, a quick sketch of a dragonfly and a pencil and watercolour fish, all stored in the Ri collections.


A Gentle Giant, The Great Asian Rhinoceros

““The jungle is moving. Suddenly, in the middle of the night I felt the ground moving beneath us. Plants and ground were moving in the direction of the moon. It took us a while to comprehend that we were sleeping on the back of one of this giants. Their movements are so slow and is covered with a dense layer of foliage that is hard to notice in the jungle despite its impressive size.“

Clement Van Burden diaries. 

What appears to be a perfect symbiosis in nature, actually can be deadly for this Rhinoceros. If the plants grow in large quantities, the rhino will be too heavy to walk and the animal can die of starvation. On the other hand, some roots are invasive and they can grow inside the armor of this animal affecting his nervous system and motor skill abilities. It is a slow and painful way to die and probably the main reason this animal lives in herds; so they can eat each others plants.

The ecosystem that grows on the back of this gigantic mammal is home of numerous small animals.

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Tree of Life.

Graphic is based on rRNA sequences sampled from about 3,000 species, which is less than 1% of an estimated 9 million species thought to exist on Earth. 

“Humans aren’t the only ones on the planet. We just act like it.”