Growing up next to a zoo, Roman Uchytel always had a passion for animals. Eventually, after graduating from art school, he married his professional training with his personal passion to create Prehistoric Fauna. Together with his wife Alexandra, Uchytel runs this incredible website where he shows off recreations of prehistoric animals next to their modern descendants, taking care to note the vast size differences.
Uchytel and his wife initially created the size comparison series so that their children would know what the descendants of the animals they saw at the zoo looked like. Over time, this hobby transformed into a profession and the couple has published books, calendars, educational posters, and postcards featuring these extinct animals.
To create the digital illustrations, Uchytel takes a lot of time and care to get things right. “While reconstructing ancient animals the easiest way is to rely on a skeleton,” he tells My Modern Met. “And knowing the anatomy, you can fairly accurately recreate the animal. Having descendants is also a big help. And the hardest part is the coloration pattern. Although you can rely on the habitat here. In addition, we cooperate with many scientists and museums around the world that kindly provide us with skeletons or relevant information.”
The results speak for themselves. Delightful for both children and adults, these images are reminders of the megafauna that once roamed the Earth. While most of us are familiar with the large size of dinosaurs, did you know that giant ground sloths the size of elephants once inhabited South America? That makes them about ten times larger than the modern two-toed sloth. Or that the Megalodon, an enormous mackerel shark that went extinct about 3.6 million years ago, was three times larger than the largest recorded great white shark?
By making the comparison visual, Uchytel is giving a new perspective on these facts and figures. And, in the process, he's sparking curiosity about prehistoric life. He's hoping that Prehistoric Fauna sparks more dialogue and encourages people to preserve the small amount of megafauna that still exist.