These 18th and 19th Century Vintage Shark Illustrations Are Stunning

by Owen James Burke

shark

Species unspecified, but possibly a ghost shark or elephantfish (Callorhinchus callorynchus). Augsburg Engelbrecht, c. 1799.

Ghost sharks live in the deep sea, and it’s unlikely that you’ll ever chance upon one.

dogfish

Black-mouthed dogfish from the book “A History of the Fishes of the British Islands.” Early 1860s.

Much less threatening than they look, dogfish have sandpaper-like teeth which they mostly use to break up crabs and shellfish from the bottom and pose absolutely no threat to humans (like nurse sharks and leopard sharks).

thresher.jopg

 Portrait of a thresher shark from the book “A History of the Fishes of the British islands.” Early 1860s.

Thresher sharks (Alopias pelagicus) use their gigantic tails — which are about the same size as their bodies — to stun prey, and maybe while they’re still young, ward off predators.

See more on the Biodiversity Heritage Library’s Flickr pageOB

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