A mesmerizing short film has condensed a salamander’s embryonic development from about three weeks down to approximately six minutes.
‘Becoming,’ created by Dutch director Jan van IJken, captures an amphibious alpine newt transforming from a single cell into a fully-formed organism in stunning detail.
It begins by showing the ‘universal process’ of a single newt cell dividing and multiplying into many cells – a process called embryogenesis.
IJken describes this process as the ‘miraculous genesis of animal life.’
‘We see the “making of” a salamander in its transparent egg from fertilization to hatching,’ according to IJken’s website.
‘The first stages of embryonic development are roughly the same for all animals, including humans.
‘In the film, we can observe a universal process which is normally invisible: the very beginning of an animal’s life.
‘A single cell is transformed into a complete, complex living organism with a beating heart and running bloodstream,’ he added.
With the help of microscopes, IJken was able to shoot a time-lapse video of the alpine newt transforming from a single-celled zygote into hatched larvae, Aeon noted.
Every stage of embryogenesis is shown in the six-minute film, IJken said.
First, the single-celled zygote undergoes several rounds of ‘cleavage,’ wherein one cell divides into multiple, smaller cells, without an increase in mass.
At this point, the embryo has produced so many cells that it becomes a blastula, or a ball of cells.