A Weird and Wonderful Gallery of Genetically Modified Animals of the Future

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Photographer and artist Vincent Fournier has released a series called Fast Forward, in which he imagines the various ways we might manipulate and morph animals by using genetic technologies. By looking at pictures of taxidermy specimens, and by interviewing animal geneticists, Fournier has created a thought-provoking, whimsical, and damn cool vision of what may lie in store for our planet's creatures.

Some of the coolest examples: a dragonfly fueled by helium, and a near-invisible monitor lizard that has mirror-like scales. Fournier also imagines a highly intelligent rabbit in which its neural functioning has been improved through stem cell treatments. Other examples of engineered species include a global warming-tolerant pangolin with skin that enables it to maintain a constant body temperature, and a long-legged ibis bird with modified claws to make it resistant to drought and frost.


Writing in TIME's Lightbox, Bryan Walsh describes the work:

None of these species are real yet, and like Fournier's earlier space-age work, they may turn out to be a vision of a future that does not come to pass. But I doubt it. We're already on our way to engineering new life forms, to tinkering with the DNA of the species around us-and eventually ours as well. We may have no other choice-the environment is changing more rapidly than wildlife can adapt to, and the result is a wave of extinction happening faster than any this planet has witnessed for millions of years. For nature to survive, it may have to become artificial-though even Fournier, who says he loves machines, has his doubts about our ability to control these metamorphoses. "The universe is not as well ordered as our machines," he writes. "It acts in an irrational, chaotic, violent and mysterious way, and even though there are computers that can design our forests, the control remains artificial." Our engineering, after all, can exceed our wisdom.


There are many more images over at TIME, so head on over and check it out.

All images via TIME/Vincent Fournier.