German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor and artist Ernst Haeckel was quite a pioneer in his time. He discovered and named thousands of new species, and documented many of those species with over one hundred gorgeous illustrations in his book, Kunstformen der Natur (Artforms of Nature). The book, which is now available in the public domain, romanticizes many underwater creatures with brightly colored, nearly symmetrical drawings. Haeckel makes tiny species of Siphonophorae, a class of marine invertebrates, resemble otherworldly flowers in the above diagram.

View the complete book, published in 1898, in this Flickr set.

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