More Scientific illustrations

The Ocean Blog

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...
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...
Squids come in a wide range of sizes but despite differences in size and shape, all work basically the same way inside. More about the giant squid can be found in the Giant Squid section .
How do right whales size up? North Atlantic Right whales ( Eubalaena glacialis ) are big, but they're not the biggest whales. That distinction goes to the Blue whale ( Balaenoptera musculus ), the...
The giant squid is among the largest invertebrates on Earth, but this deep sea creature has rarely been observed by humans -- alive. Over the centuries, many dead giant squid have washed up on the...
This illustration shows one old idea of what the ancient shark Helicoprion might have looked like. There once was room for many ideas—some more plausible than others—because the only fossils of the...
Earth’s first animals had soft bodies. This illustration shows a community of soft-bodied Ediacaran (edi-A-karan) animals. Some species resemble living ocean creatures. Others are unlike any known...
Published in 1882 by Yale Professor A.E. Verrill, this is the first scientific illustration of a giant squid. More about the giant squid can be found in the Giant Squid section .
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...
Scientists met the robotic glider Scarlet Knight about halfway along its journey of scientific exploration from the United States to Spain, discovering that barnacles were growing on the glider’s...
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...
Offshore Peru, during the Eocene (~56-34 million years ago), showing three archaeocetes (ancient whales), along with a previously described fossil penguin. Top to bottom: Perudyptes devriesi ,...
A sea monster attacks a ship in an illustration for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. The illustration is by publisher and artist Pierre-Jules Hetzel, who is most famous for his drawings...
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 .
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.
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—...
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...
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...
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