The exhibition is on display until the 28th August 2023.

The British Library’s latest exhibition explores how the way in which documenting the animal world has resulted in some of humankind’s most awe-inspiring art, science and sound recordings.

Covering centuries of research, the exhibition features sound recordings, manuscripts and artworks as well as the opportunity to discover some fun facts along the way – even some that led to a few misunderstandings along the way such as: reading the first scientific description of a duck-billed platypus, once thought to be so bizarre it must be a hoax, the opportunity to lean why Europeans once thought birds of paradise lived in a constant state of flight and survived on dew and sunlight alone and you can see the 16th-century drawing of a monkfish that looks like a monk.

During the exhibition, visitors can listen to the mournful song of the last living Kauaʻi ʻōʻō, recorded in 1983 and declared extinct in 2000 and wonder at the iridescent kaleidoscope of colours in Levon Biss’ photographs of beetles; a level of detail not otherwise visible to the naked eye as seen through a microscopic lens.

To book tickets for the exhibition visit:


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