Painting of a bison, c. 14,820–13,130 BC, Cave of Altamira, Santillana del Mar, Spain. akg-images / WHA / World History Archive

Anatomical study of the horse during the reign of the Burji Mamluks, 1382–1517. Istanbul University

Eugène Delacroix, Tiger, c. 1830. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Ludwig Becker, Common sea dragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus), 1858. Wikimedia Commons

Ernst Haeckel, Discomedusae, from Kunstformen der Natur, 1904. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, DC

Kenojuak Ashevak, Hare Spirits, 1960. Private collection

Robert Clark, Saltwater crocodile, from Evolution: A Visual Record, 2016

Scott Echols, Microvasculature of a Pigeon Head, 2017

Animal: Exploring the Zoological World is a visually stunning and broad-ranging exploration and celebration of humankind’s ongoing fascination with the world’s remarkable fauna. Since our very first moments on earth, we have been compelled to make images of the curious beasts around us – whether as sources of food, danger, wonder, power, scientific significance or companionship. This carefully curated selection of images, chosen by an international panel of experts, delves into our shared past to tell the story of animal life.

From the first cave paintings, extraordinary medieval bestiaries and exquisite scientific illustration, to iconic paintings, contemporary artworks and the incredible technological advancements that will shape our futures together, the huge range of works reflects the beauty and variety of the animal world.

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Arranged in a curated and thought-provoking sequence, the engaging compilation includes iconic works by some of the great names in zoology, such as Conrad Gesner, Charles Darwin and John James Audubon, as well as celebrated artists and photographers, indigenous cultures and lesser-known figures who have made important contributions to the study and representation of animals throughout history.


James Hanken is Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Biology at Harvard University. He is also the director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology and its Curator of Herpetology.

Animal, edited by James Hanken, Nick Crumpton, Ross Piper and Phaidon editors, is published in hardback by Phaidon, priced £39.95.
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Harvard: James Hankel