locupletissimi

Crocodile d’Amerique (Fig 1) et Lacerta Heliaca (Fig 2)

[Now American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) and Mexican spinytail iguana (Ctenosaura pectinata)]

Albertus Seba seems to have been an originator of the 18th-century style of the funky curly reptilian tails in order to show both their dorsal and frontal patterns. He certainly imparted some great style to other parts of his illustrations, as well.

Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri accurata descriptio, et iconibus artificiosissimis expressio, per universam physices historiam. Tome I. Albertus Seba, 1734.

2

Rare Ocean Conchs and Cornets

This collection of rare shells was compiled and designed by Albertus Seba. He was one of the early Continental Europeans who worked on zoological taxonomy who influenced Linnaeus.

Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri accurata descriptio, et iconibus artificiosissimis expressio, per universam physices historiam. Albertus Seba, 1734.

Two-toed Sloth

Albert Seba’s (1665-1736) four volume Thesaurus (Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri accurata descriptio…) illustrated the Dutch apothecary’s enormous collection of animal and plant specimens amassed over the years. Using preserved specimens, Seba’s artists could depict anatomy accurately—but not behavior. For example, this two-toed sloth is shown climbing upright, even though in nature, sloths hang upside down.

See this and other illustrations from the Museum’s Rare Book Collection in Natural Histories: 400 Years of Scientific Illustration from the Museum’s Library.

We cannot stop looking at this delightfully nutty, googly-eyed crocodile! You just know he must have some killer ideas about the Illuminati and can make a delicious cocktail.  Clearly, we have given this much thought.

Hand-colored plate from Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri accurata descriptio, et iconibus artificiossimis expressio, per univ. physices historiam (1734-65).