In 1660, at the age of thirteen, Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) began her study of butterfly metamorphosis—years before any other scientist published an accurate description of the process. Later, Merian and her daughter ventured thousands of miles from their home in the Netherlands to the rainforests of South America seeking new and amazing insects to observe and illustrate.
Years after her death, Merian’s accurate and beautiful illustrations were used by scientists, including Carl Linnaeus, to classify species, and today her prints and paintings are prized by museums around the world. More than a dozen species of plants and animals are named after Merian.
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