I got the idea for this project not long after first hearing the song. Like any epic in NW's lineup, I knew it would take more than one canvas; actually, if I divided it like the song is divided it would need five. But the song itself, IMO, has not five but six sections: the intro that ends with Dawkins' first lines, Life, the animal section between Life and the Toolmaker, the Toolmaker, Dawkins' second and longest speech, and the ending with the ocean and Dawkins reading Darwin. So, okay, I've already got six, so why not make it seven and make it parallel the seven days of creation.
I see the story thus: Evolution begins and spirals up and up until the destruction of the dinosaurs, at which point mammals and eventually humanity take the dominant role. In my mind, the explosion at the end of the Toolmaker is us, reaching the climax of our own destructive tendencies. Maybe we didn't completely destroy the Earth, but we changed it enough that it's no longer a place we want to be. The greater part of humanity decides to abandon Earth for the stars: the fifth canvas will combine the imagery of a funeral, people boarding spaceships, and all the ghosts of people who never were. The sixth canvas will have humans on another world, watching our animals swim in an alien ocean. But in my mind, you'd never get every single person to leave Earth, uninhabitable or not. A few stayed behind, and are there to witness the rise of ratkind. The seventh canavas will show the two sentient species meeting for the first time.
I actually wasn't going to start this project right away because it's massive, and I have any number of other projects on my plate. But...sometimes songs just want to be drawn, you know?
I had to do a ridiculous amount of research for this section, to find out what evolved when. Everything I drew is a species that existed, with maybe a bit more color than they would have actually had. It starts at the top left with cyanobacteria and follows a U-shape around Yggdrasil until it reaches the sailback dinosaurs. Archean - early Triassic (I'm saving the bulk of the dinosaurs for the next canvas). And what's funny is the whole time I'm researching all these plants and animals, I'm thinking to myself, "This is really interesting! Why the heck did we not study this in biology class in high school? Or did we and I don't remember??"