Scientific illustrations

Illustration of a giant squid versus a merman.

From Mermen to Architeuthis, Our Fascination with the Giant Squid

Humans have long been captivated by what we now call the giant squid ( Architeuthis ). This image gallery gives a glimpe into our fascination with the animal. For a long time, people saw...
Color illustration of an ancient bivalve.

Rudist Reefs

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...
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 “curious” upon his return to England. As Dampier conducted his investigations, his artist made detailed sketches like these.

Discoveries in Australia and New Guinea

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 about Dampier in...
An artistic rendering of an ocean landscape as it may have looked during the Archean Eon.

The Ocean Throughout Geologic Time, An Image Gallery

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 years...

Art Forms in Nature: Marine Species From Ernst Haeckel

Today’s discoveries about our planet’s biological diversity build upon the research of previous generations of scientists. The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a digital library committed to providing free and open access to this...

Top Predators Timeline

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.