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12 Weird and Wild Historical Illustrations of Whales

Many of these scientific illustrations of whales are hundreds of years old

"Getreue Abbildungen naturhistorischer Bd.3", 1793 © COURTESY OF BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY

Historical illustrations give us a glimpse into the scientific research of the past—and they can be very cool to look at!

We can view thousands of historical illustrations of marine life thanks to the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). The BHL is the largest open-access digital library for biodiversity archives. They work with libraries around the world to offer millions of books dating back to the 15th century for free. The library is not only an incredible source of data for scientists—it brings scientific art into the homes of people around the world.

Previously, we dug through the BHL archives to bring you some of our favorite oceansharkshell, fish and cephalopod illustrations from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Now, we’re bringing you our favorite cool and unusual illustrations of whales from the BHL!

Historic Whale Illustration
"Natural History Reports / British Antarctic ("Terra Nova") Expedition, 1910-13 v.1" , 1914 © COURTESY OF BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY

Historic Whale Illustration
"The royal natural history London :F. Warne", 1893-1896 © COURTESY OF BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY

Historic Whale Illustration
"Icones rerum naturalium Copenhague,Chez E.A.H. Möller, etc.", 1805-1806 © COURTESY OF BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY

Historic Whale Illustration
"Edinburgh :W.H. Lizars", 1843 © COURTESY OF BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY

Historic Whale Illustration
"Natural History Reports / British Antarctic ("Terra Nova") Expedition", 1910-13 © COURTESY OF BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY

Historic Whale Illustration
"The marine mammals of the north-western coast of North America,. New York,J.H. Carmany", 1874 © COURTESY OF BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY

Historic Whale Illustration
"Compléments de Buffon. t.1. Paris :P. Pourrat Frères", 1838 © COURTESY OF BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY

Historic Whale Illustration
"Transactions and proceedings of the New Zealand Institute Wellington :New Zealand Institute", 1869 © COURTESY OF BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY

Historic Whale Illustration
© COURTESY OF BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY

Historic Whale Illustration
"Gemeinnüzzige Naturgeschichte des Thierreichs bd 2 plates Berlin ;bei Gottlieb August Lange", 1780-1789 © COURTESY OF BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY

Historic Whale Illustration
"Field book of giant fishes New York,G. P. Putnam", 1949 © COURTESY OF BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY

You can explore the BHL too, by visiting their website and Flickr page.

 

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