Long before Darwin, our ancestors were obsessed with the visual similarities and differences between the animals. Early scientists could sense there was an order that unified all life and formulated a variety of schemes to help illustrate this. This human quest to classify living beings has left us with a rich artistic legacy, from the folklore and religiosity of the ancient and Medieval world through the naturalistic cataloging of the Enlightenment to the modern, computer-generated classificatory labyrinth.
This book tells the fascinating, visual story of this process. The wonderful zoological charts reflect prevailing artistic trends and scientific discoveries, as well as telling us as much about ourselves as they do about the creatures depicted.