South American cannibals, 16th century
South American cannibals. 16th-century artwork of indigenous people of South American dismembering and roasting their slain enemies. Artwork from 'Cosmographie universelle' (1575) by the French explorer and writer Andre Thevet (1516-1590). This book described the history and geography of the lands in which Thevet had travelled. The two volumes and four tomes contain over 1000 pages divided into 23 books. This woodcut is from chapter XV of book XXI.
© MIDDLE TEMPLE LIBRARY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Giant otter eating a fish
Giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) eating a fish it has caught. This is the largest of the mustelids, with adult males reaching up to 1.8 metres in length and weighing up to 35 kilograms. Females are smaller and slimmer, reaching 1.7 metres and 26 kilograms. It inhabits wetlands in South America east of the Andes, where it feeds on fish, crabs and snakes. Adults have been known to kill and eat caimans. It is primarily a visual hunter, and catches its prey in underwater chases. It lives in groups of up to 20 individuals. Photographed in the Brazilian Pantanal.
© Manuel Presti/Science Photo Library
Amazon Basin, satellite image
Amazon Basin. Satellite image of the Amazon Basin (highlighted area) in northern South America. North is at top. Water is blue, and land is colour-coded according to elevation above sea level: dark green (sea level), pink (2000 metres), and white (4500 metres). The Amazon Basin, over 7 million square kilometres in area, is the drainage basin of the Amazon River and is the largest in the world. The source of the Amazon lies high in the Andes mountain (down left). The waters drain eastward through the vast Amazon Rainforest, emerging at the mouth of the Amazon (upper right). In 2007, a new source for the Amazon was reported in southern Peru, which would make the Amazon the world's longest river. This image combines Shuttle Radar Topography Data and HydroSHEDS river data.
© Nasa/Science Photo Library