Since the dawn of time man has attempted to portray the animal kingdom for himself and for generations to come through illustrations. From the Altamira cave drawings of the Stone Age, to the seventeenth-century naturalist paintings of Merian, to the beautiful natural history books of the nineteenth century, the study of nature has always relied on pictures for immediacy.
There was a time when art and science were part of one discipline which sought to classify the natural world, for it was thought that only with the use of illustration could full knowledge be achieved. Later, the study of natural history evolved, becoming wider and more accurate with the advent of the microscope and photography. However, even today, illustrations will often improve much on the stark images of photographs, particularly when a certain detail or effect is desired.
Guerrini, F., (1993). The Great Book of the Sea: Philadelphia, PA: Courage Books