It's hard to say whether Prussian born Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) will be better remembered for his brilliant zoological illustrations or as an unscientific showboat who cultivated fame by riding on the coat tails of Charles Darwin.
He proposed a plethora of theories involving evolution, phylogeny and comparative anatomy (he was a physician by trade) and terms he coined such as phylum and ecology survive today.
When Darwin released On The Origin of the Species, Haeckel espoused in great detail a fantastic theory that evidence of human evolution would be found in Java. Amazingly, a student of his later discovered Java man.
His most famous works are Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms of Nature) 1899-1904 and Die Radiolarien (Rhizopoda Radiara) 1862 - from which the illustrations here were selected.
- Die Radiolarien thumb plates (warning - the jpeg images from each thumb are H.U.G.E.)
- Kunstformen der Natur thumb plates [translation] (varying sizes of images available, including original text)
- Slate magazine slideshow
- Individual images taken from Haeckel works (beautiful site with zoomable images but alas, individual thumbs can't be saved independently)
- Proteus - a film about Haeckel made in 2004