The Video Of A Cell's Transformation Into An Organism Is Blowing People's Minds

All animals evolve from a single cell to a full-fledged living being, but you've likely never seen it happen in such detail.


Jan van IJken is a Dutch filmmaker and photographer. His latest project is a six-minute film called Becoming in which we witness the miracle of a salamander going from an unfertilized, transparent egg to a living animal.

The Very Beginning

Van IJken explains the project:

The first stages of embryonic development are roughly the same for all animals, including humans. In the film, we can observe a universal process which normally is invisible: the very beginning of an animal’s life.

From A Single Cell To A Complex Organism

He continues:

A single cell is transformed into a complete, complex living organism with a beating heart and running bloodstream.

Transparent Egg

He told Bored Panda that part of why he picked this particular animal for his film was because of its transparent egg:

“I filmed the egg in a Petri dish, in water. To me, the biological aspects were the most challenging parts of creating this short. [Figuring out] how long do the processes take, what are the different stages of development, and so on. I had to become a bit of a biologist and a bit of a scientist.”

Three Weeks Of Film

The full runtime of the film that he recorded was about three weeks, but he condensed the entire process down to six minutes:

All stages of embryogenesis can be seen in this film: cleavage, gastrulation, neurulation and organogenesis.


You can watch the entire movie here. It won the award for best short documentary at the Innsbruck nature film last year, and has been shown at over 20 international film festivals.


People are losing it after watching this incredible production. It's hard to believe this actually happens.

Makes Us Feel Small

Others commented on how small this tiny animal makes humans seem. Perhaps there's something much, much bigger than us out there.

Beyond Words

Watching this really gives the viewer an appreciation for how incredible and beautiful the creation of life is.

Can't Stop Watching

People can't get enough of it. This commenter said they're watching it on repeat:

Watched it 4 times now - the initial few divisions - wow. then when it implodes!


Another comment found watching this whole transformation very humbling:

This is the most astounding and humbling series of images I have ever seen! By far!!


Other viewers just couldn't handle it:

Nope nope nope nope nope. Not sure why...but this disturbs me on some weird level.

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