Google is celebrating the 366th birthday of Maria Sibylla Merian, a naturalist and a scientific illustrator who is somewhat of a legend in the field of entomology. Google has dedicated a doodle to her that depicts caterpillars, chrysalises, moths, butterflies and a green iguana along with the plants that they feed on.
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German naturalist Maria was born into a highly gifted family on April 2, 1647 at Frankfurt and was introduced to nature at a very early age. Her mother married still-life painter Jacob Marrel after the death of Maria’s father, and he took the responsibility to train Maria as a painter. At the age of 13, Maria painted the transformation of silkworms into moths and this became a turning point in her life. So fascinated was she with the silkworms, that observing nature at such close quarters became somewhat of a passion for her. Also Read - Google celebrates Hollywood actor, singer and dancer Shirley Temple with animated Doodle
She started studying and painting nature and published her first illustrated book called Neues Blumenbuch (New book of flowers) in three parts from 1675-80. In 1699, she made her first expedition to Surinam in South America, travelling around the then Dutch colony and sketching local animals and plants.
She chronicled everything she observed and painted, in a book called the Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium (The Metamorphoses of the Insects of Suriname) which was published in 1705.
In 1715 she suffered a massive stroke that left her partially paralyzed and passed away on January 13 1717 in Amsterdam.