The Paleozoic

340 million years of history in a 42 feet long illustration

“The Paleozoic” is a series of five illustrated accordion books about the era before the dinosaurs. Starting from the Cambrian explosion to the Permian’s great dying, the books explain the major events and evolutionary milestones of each period in plain language.

The inspiration for this project came from the realization that most people don’t know what preceded the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs dominate our idea of prehistoric life but the era prior to the dinosaurs actually laid the foundation to our modern world:  from establishing the basic body plans of all existing life forms, to creating the coal deposits that fueled our industrial revolution. Through this series, I demystify the events and life forms of that era to the lay person.

The Books

Illustrated and written over the course of 5 years, this series was originally silkscreen printed and handbound in very small editions. Thanks to reaching a Kickstarter goal in 2016, these books are now professionally printed, with detachable covers and debossed covers. Each accordion book unfolds to a 108-inch long illustration. Each accordion illustration flows into the next to make one mega picture measuring 42 feet.

Kickstarter Video

Book 1: The Cambrian

The beginning of complex life on Earth, you see the first lifeforms that swam and crawled along the ocean floor. The sudden appearance of large animals marks also the beginning of predation, which kicks the evolutionary process into high gear.

Book 2: The Ordovician & the Silurian

Invertebrate life dominates the land, until the first mass extinction gives the early fish a chance to multiply. Fish develop jaws, and plant life starts to colonize the Earth.

Book 3: The Devonian

The Age of Fish sees the appearance of the major fish families, including the bony fish which eventually give rise to the first tetrapod: the first land vertebrate. Forests start to cover the Earth.

Book 4: The Carboniferous

Vast swamps and forests cover the Earth, while gigantic insects fly in the sky. The first egg-laying animals break their dependence on water and make the land their permanent home.

Book 5: The Permian

The last period of the Paleozoic sees the mammal-like reptiles take over land environments. Unfortunately, the worst mass extinction in all of history will relegate them to the background in the following era, the Mesozoic.