More Scientific illustrations

Vertebrates evolved in the sea and eventually moved onto land. The ancestors of whales later returned to the sea, taking advantage of its rich food supplies. As early whales adapted to their new...
The basic body plans of all modern animals were set during the Cambrian Period, 542 - 488 million years ago. Your friends, family, and pet turtle may not look much like the creatures here. But we and...
This 1837 sketch is Charles Darwin’s first diagram of an evolutionary tree. It appears in his First Notebook on Transmutation of Species (1837).
Hundreds of powerful suckers stud the flattened club at the end of the giant squid’s long feeding tentacle. They help the squid capture and hang on tightly to its prey. They also leave deep scars in...
About 100 million years ago, during the heyday of the dinosaurs , reefs were built by mollusks called rudist clams . They looked very different from today's coral reefs . Discover more about the...
Evidence shows that life probably began in the ocean at least 3.5 billion years ago. Photosynthesis began more than 2.5 billion years ago—the Great Oxidation Event. But it took hundreds of millions...
Of all of the species Haeckel described, he is most famous for his illustrations of radiolarians. Planktonic, unicellular marine eukaryotes, radiolarians are found in all of the world’s oceans. The...
A drawing of Phoenix from the Right Whale Catalog documents her callosity pattern and other identifying marks. More about whales can be found in our Tale of a whale featured story .
This slideshow features illustrations of some of the plants and animals that William Dampier, a naturalist and pirate, observed in Australia (then known as New Holland) and New Guinea. Learn more...
As Dampier studied the plants he encountered in Australia, he wrote that they were “for the most part unlike any I had seen elsewhere.” In fact, nearly all the plants Dampier observed were entirely...
Humans are late arrivals on Earth. For nearly 75% of Earth’s history, life consisted of single-celled microbes without a nucleus (prokaryotes). Volcanoes and erosion sculpted Earth 3.5 billion years...
Starfish—marine invertebrates of the phylum Echinodermata—are famous for their ability to shed limbs as a means of defense and then regenerate the sacrificed part. Ancient creatures, the fossil...
As soon as Dampier set foot in Australia, he began making observations and collecting specimens of plants, which he carefully pressed between the pages of books to be studied by the “ingenious” and “...
Dampier was not able to collect specimens of fishes and other ocean life. But he had his shipboard artist carefully record the species that Dampier found new and unusual.
This illustration shows the edge of a warm inland sea during the Cretaceous Period, heyday of the dinosaurs. Constantly shifting sediment supported new groups of organisms, including rudist clams—...
Sharks have six highly refined senses: smell, hearing, touch, taste, sight, and electromagnetism. These finely honed senses, along with a sleek, torpedo-shaped body, make most sharks highly skilled...
What makes a top predator? Razor-sharp teeth? Speed? Strength? Size? Who is the most fearsome hunter? It depends on where and when you look.
An adult giant squid struggles for survival in an encounter with a sperm whale - its only known predator. The whale will probably overpower and eat the squid. More about the giant squid can be found...
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