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Haeckel’s Lacertilia

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Image of the Week #3, August 8, 2011:

From: Art forms in nature by Joe Milton at Creatology.

Original source: Wikimedia Commons

This image shows the duality of all scientific illustration. Descriptive, accurate morphology for the sake of identification coupled with a composition of crowded harmony like something out of a Muppet musical number. Scientific illustration is all about highlighting what is important and muting extraneous details: the background is only there as a prop and is faded appropriately. Haeckel’s composition gives each lizard its archetypal pose (though some blood from the eye of the horned toad would have been cool) and underscores their familial relationship by using a limited colour palette, unifying the animals as a group.

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