Artist Jane Kim spent three years creating a colossal mural at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York. Arranged across a map of the world are birds painted life-size, from a Great Gray Owl soaring over Europe to the Common Ostrich, the world’s largest living bird, gazing with big bright eyes at the viewer. Each is part of a sprawling narrative on bird diversity and 375 million years of their evolution.
“Nothing quite like this had ever been done: a mural depicting all 243 modern families of living birds, five modern families that had gone extinct by human hand within the last thirty thousand years, twenty-one prehistoric ancestors, and a ten-foot caiman to remind people of the mind-bending reality that the crocodile family is more closely related to birds than it is to other reptiles. All told, I painted 270 life-size animals, from the thirty-foot-long Yutyrannus to the tiny Marvelous Spatuletail hummingbird, which weighs as much as a penny.”
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