Scientists have said that that over 99% of all life that ever lived has gone extinct.
Relatively little is known about this vast lineage—biological artifacts almost never survive the forces of time. What do we know about these forgotten organisms? What is their story, and how similar is it to our own?
Natural Rejection visualizes extinct species within the Tree Of Life Web Project's phylogenetic database, an open source archive of about 100,000 nodes. It is a study on impermanence, mortality salience, and information loss.
This project was made using Processing and is based on a hierarchical XML file of the Tree of Life Web Project’s database. More information about the database can be found here. I picked through the XML file using pre-order tree traversal to extract all the extinct species and procedurally created twisting, branching geometry based on various properties of each node. I implemented Tobias Isenberg’s 2009 IEEE paper Depth-Dependent Halos: Illustrative Rendering of Dense Line Data to convey the interesting spatial relationships and give the piece an unusual, gestural quality. To actually glean some information from the visualization, I implemented a 3D color picking technique to see the name of each extinct species by hovering the mouse cursor over its terminal point.