Science Art: Manière de pêcher la Tortüe; le Lamantin from Histoire des aventuriers flibustiers, Volume I (1744)

This engraving shows a bunch of humans spearing a sea turtle. But wait! A manatee looks on in terror, clutching her child! And thinks back to all the different kinds of harpoons she has seen… and thus far avoided.

Or something like that.

It comes from Alexandre-Olivier Exquemelin’s rollicking History of Filibustering Adventurers*, published in 1744, although I found it in the John Carter Brown Library’s Archive of Early American Images. It’s an early travelogue and natural history of pirates of the Caribbean. From someone who’d sailed with them.

*Not an accurate translation. “Flibustier” actually means “buccaneer.”