When we are feeling tapped out and need an instant break, we often turn to the Encyclopedia of Life, a collaborative database intended to document the world’s 1.9 million species. It is the vision of biologist E.O. Wilson who was invited to share his “dream” in a moving 2007 TED talk: to catalogue species as a way of protecting and understanding them. His dream is coming true: not long after, $$ started rolling in to fund it.

Although the Encyclopedia is meant for both scientist and layman, we haven’t quite wrapped our minds around its organization. So we just click “More Species” in the Explore section at the top of the page until we find an image that grabs us. Then we discover that what looks like a lovely man-made design is really a protozoa


…Look at this wildman protozoa!…


…We stumbled on an oddly old-fashioned photo of Flowering Dogwood, one of our favorite flowers…


…and got an intimate look into a blossom’s very center…


…We never did learn why Giant False Sensitive Plant is falsely sensitive…


…but were amazed by the modernity of a mollusc


…We discovered plants, mushrooms, birds and fish including one called Ribboned Sweetlips


…There were many miraculous images we happened on, and then couldn’t find again…


…because we lost track in the dreamy world…

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2 replies on “visual vacation: the encyclopedia of life

  1. this is precisely why I love the improvised life! thank you for finding this site. For me, it comes at a crucial time as I am mourning the loss of so much life in the Gulf of Mexico and really felt a need to connect to the natural world.

  2. Love this. Always enjoy being reminded of the vastness of the cosmos, especially with beautiful images. Thanks for posting it.

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