Psst, wanna know who Sibylla was?
Today, children as young as preschool can happily explain how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. But there was a time when no one knew this—not even scientists. Until the 1670s, scientists thought that caterpillars and butterflies were two totally distinct creatures. Thanks to Maria Sibylla Merian, we know the truth about these beautiful winged insects. Born in Germany in 1647, Merian was fascinated by insects, and she began collecting, studying, and drawing them when she was as young as 13. She was one of the few naturalists of her time to actually study and sketch live insects. It was through her study of caterpillars that she discovered the truth about their life cycles, and she went on to publish two volumes of naturalist research about the life cycles of insects. Her work provided major contributions to the field of entomology.