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What Makes a Snake a Snake

(2011)
 

The mid-1800's was a time when drawing from first-hand observation was often from dead or preserved specimens. This meant the living posture of an animal was often left to the imagination of scientific illustrators as an evocative detail. However in the case of snakes the sinuous coilings may be a deeply iconic form evolutionarily impressed on our perceptual systems such that we innately recognize a serpentine sign of danger.

Redrawing these classical scientific illustrations today means that the most fictitious detail of the originals may in fact be the images' most salient biological feature to our primate gaze.