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Natural Histories

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.