3. Spatial distribution of the montane unicorn.
By Nathalie J. Briscoe, Kathrine A. Handasyde, Stephen R. Griffiths, Warren P. Porter, Andrew Krockenberger, and Michael R. Kearney. (2014. Biology Letters) LINKS As my tweets on this were coming out, @RiaRGhai sent me this one. The humor is somewhat diminished for me by the fact that I spent an evening in an Australian reserve looking for koalas and never saw one. That should be another category for the figure – a bare tree branch.
By Min Tan, Gareth Jones, Guangjian Zhu, Jianping Ye, Tiyu Hong, Shanyi Zhou, Shuyi Zhang, and Libiao Zhang. (2009. PLoS ONE). LINK Figures don’t have to be static – they can be videos too. What really makes this figure work for me is the added soundtrack (yes it is in the original paper). Apparently other papers have now come out on cunnilingus in bats.
Ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by lap dancers: economic evidence for human estrus?
Bonus figures (post publication suggestions by readers)
Predicting the distribution of Sasquatch in western North America: anything goes with ecological niche modelling.
By J. D. Lozier, P. Aniello, and M. J. Hickerson. (2009. Journal of Biogeography) LINK This paper brings attention to the problem of bad records in ecological niche modeling by using reported Sasquatch sightings to model the predicted range of Sasquatch in western North America. Thanks to Thiago Silva for bringing this one to my attention.
By Zardoya and Meyer. LINK. We here have a straight-up molecular phylogenetics paper with a figure showing representative non-human animals and a very mis-representative human animal.
"Flow-through respirometry applied to chamber systems: Pros and cons, hints and tips" by Lighton and Halsey (2011).
And, finally, here is a related post by Meghan Duffy on Dynamic Ecology: Do bird papers have the best figures?