Where do the boundaries between creatures lie? What makes a jellyfish different from, say, an insect? We can look to their respective environments, their shapes, and their material, or even their behaviours. No matter the angle we approach, much of how we sort our modern world starts with the visual. Before we could use genetics or had methods for systematic study, groupings usually lay in the rough visual appearance.
Yet, even in times when we only had rudimentary observations as a basis for our worldview, stories of chimeras –fantastic creatures of hybrid origin– were told. Today, such chimeras are generally left in the realm of science fiction, but when we dive into aquatic biodiversity with deep learning, we’re offered the potential to explore and imagine new worldviews. To re-enact tales of chimeras by a machine generating encounters with fantastic organisms.
Photos © Stelios Tzetzias, Courtesy of Onassis Stegi