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Alexander Lee

'The Worm Turns': cartoon of Darwin and an earthworm, Popular Science Monthly, c.1881. Bridgeman Images.

Worms are among the simplest of creatures. But, as Darwin discovered, even they share things in common with humanity.

Swallow, illustration by Hector Giacomelli, c.1885 © Bridgeman Images.

It was once believed that swallows spent their winters on the Moon, or asleep on river beds. 

Matador Manuel Granero with the bull, Pocapena, in Madrid, 7 May 1922. Granero would die as a result of being gored during this fight. Photograph by Ernest Hemingway © Ullstein Bild/Getty Images.

Ernest Hemingway’s love of bullfighting bordered on obsession. Did he see his own insecurities reflected in the ring?

An eel, probably a serpent eel, from Aquatilium animalium historiea, liber primus, by Ippolito Salviani, 1554 © British Library Board/Bridgeman Images.

The slippery subject of eel reproduction evaded human understanding for millennia.

Guardroom with Monkeys, by David Teniers the Younger, c.1633. Private Collection/Wikimedia/Creative Commons.

From wall paintings in Egyptian tombs to the margins of illuminated manuscripts, we have always used portrayals of monkeys to express our more animal side.

St Francis of Assisi Speaking with the Wolf of Gubbio, by Stefano di Giovanni di Consolo, ‘Il Sassetta’, 1437-44. Photo © Luisa Ricciarini/Bridgeman Images

The most maligned of creatures, since ancient times, wolves have played a central role in mythology.

Haggis-maker Andrew Majnik with a haggis, David Jones food store, 29 December 1961 © Alan E Funnell/Fairfax Media/Getty Images.

The origins of haggis are as mysterious as the Loch Ness Monster.

On board a factory ship: gutting, cleaning and storing cod in the hold. Engraving from Encyclopedia of Natural History, Augsburg, 1804 © Bridgeman Images.

The Portuguese national dish with a global past of ingenuity and exploitation.

Jackson Street, San Francisco’s Chinatown, 1962 © Bridgeman Images

A dish which arrived with the Gold Rush, spread with the railway and endured prohibition was Chinese by origin, but claimed by America.

A scene of feasting, c.1594, Ottoman Empire © Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas/Bridgeman Images

A celebrated dish of the Ottoman Empire that spread far and wide.