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Behind the scenes, preparators and artists bring Tiktaalik to life

Frederick Mullison photo Kalliopi Monoyios photo Robert Masek photo Tyler Keillor photo

Preparator Frederick Mullison

Frederick Mullison is Ted Daeschler's fossil preparator at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. He has twelve years of experience working with Devonian-aged fossils that Ted and Neil have collected under their Devonian Research Project. In addition to preparation work, he is a skilled photographer and model-maker. Fred prepared specimens NUFV 108 and 110 (the smaller specimens one of which is the holotype) for this project.

Illustrator Kalliopi Monoyios

Kalliopi Monoyios was the scientific illustrator in Neil Shubin's Lab from 2002-2012. She has a bachelor's degree in Geology from Princeton University and 10 years of wilderness experience in the Arctic thanks to her Canadian family members who are avid whitewater canoeists. Kapi illustrated the majority of the material from this project, including the cover of the April 6, 2004 issue of Nature in which these discoveries are detailed. She also illustrated Neil Shubin's books, Your Inner Fish and The Universe Within, and designed this website.

Preparator Robert Masek

Robert Masek has 18 years of experience preparing fossils for the Field Museum of Natural History and the University of Chicago. He works mainly on dinosaur fossils, but occasionally delves deeper in time to work on Devonian fossils. In his spare time, Bob collects Indiana’s famous Mazon Creek fossils and has donated many of them to local schools. Bob prepared specimen NUFV 109 (the big specimen) for this project and continues to help out when we need an extra set of hands in the prep lab.

PaleoArtist Tyler Keillor

Tyler Keillor has been preparing fossils, creating skeletal reconstructions, and sculpting flesh models of prehistoric life at the University of Chicago since 2001. He also worked at the Field Museum of Natural History in exhibits, and learned many artistic skills in a former career: creating special effects and makeup for film, TV, and theater. Tyler sculpted the life-sized reconstruction of Tiktaalik for this project. Watch the video here!