Ten percent of plant matter gets eaten while it is alive. The other 90% falls to the ground and becomes detritus, which supports microbes, insects and, yes, us, as we feed on animals that grazed on it and plants that grow in it.
When it came time to animate a TED-Ed lesson about this so-called “brown food chain,” the animation team of Celeste Lai, Lisa LaBracio and Biljana Labovic had an idea. LaBracio had a vast collection of dried leaves at home, and the trio conspired to create animals by layering these leaves into a visual representation of the idea that all living things are made up of dead matter.
“I’ve had a collection of dried leaves and flowers since I was 8 or 9,” says LaBracio, who designed the backgrounds and animated the video. “I hunted for fallen leaves in my backyard and rescued dying bouquets to press between book pages. I’ve always found it fascinating that you…
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