This Time-Lapse Of Cell Division In A Tadpole Egg Is Apparently Real


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer


A filmmaker has released a time-lapse video of cell division in an egg from the common frog (Rana temporaria) that is apparently very much real footage.

Francis Chee posted the video to his YouTube channel earlier this month, which shows 33 hours of footage compressed into 23 seconds. The egg starts with four cells and then divides into millions.


In the video’s description, Chee said he made the footage using a “custom designed microscope based on the ‘infinity optical design’” that he built, adding it “is not available by any manufacturer.” We emailed him for further information and to verify the video was real, but have had no response. 

He also said that the microscope sits on an “anti-vibration table”, which is why the footage looks so steady. There are also other somewhat similar videos on YouTube knocking around.

In a later video posted a few days ago, Chee showed the entire development of a tadpole from a zygote, using the same equipment. “The video starts where the other one essentially left off,” he said in that video's description.

We'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. And, you know, it really is pretty awesome.

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  • time lapse,

  • biology,

  • cell division,

  • tadpole egg