These fascinating antique lithographs show fish discovered during the Challenger expedition of 1872-76. This was described as "the greatest advance in the knowledge of our planet since the celebrated discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries".
As recently as the late 19th century, human knowledge of the oceans was confined to the upper few fathoms of the water and a small amount of the bottom, mainly in shallow areas. Sailors and scientists knew almost nothing of the ocean depths.
The Challenger expedition of 1872–76 laid the foundation of deep sea research. The expedition was named after the mother ship, HMS Challenger. The Royal Society of London obtained the use of Challenger from the Royal Navy and in 1872 modified the ship for scientific work. She traveled nearly 70,000 nautical miles (130,000 km). The result was the Report Of The Scientific Results of the Exploring Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger during the years 1873-76 which, among many other discoveries, catalogued over 4,000 previously unknown species. Notably, the expedition also discovered the famous "Challenger Deep" which is the deepest part of the world's oceans.
These rare and intriguing lithographs were made in the late 1800s and show some most unusual looking fish. They make make great conversation pieces!