Since ancient times, the understanding of our environment has been crucial for our survival as a species and our development as a civilization. When we started to comprehend the biology of different species, we also started to better understand our own and take advantage of that knowledge to increase our life expectancy and health. We have made great strides in the medical field, and now we are capable of preventing and curing diseases that 100 years ago were fatal. It is noteworthy that none of these achievements would have been possible without the use of animal models. Even technological advances were inspired by our knowledge of animal biology.
The cover for this IMMpress issue, “Animal Models: Learning by Example”, was inspired by the Cueva de las manos (Cave of Hands), a series of caves located in Argentina renowned for the ancient paintings of hands. The hand images date from 13,000 to 9,000 years ago and were stenciled – that is, dwellers used their own hands as stencils and bone-made pipes to create the silhouettes. Cueva de las Manos was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999 as it is a prehistoric cave art that bears witness to the culture of the earliest human societies in South America. The cover presented in this issue depicts foot silhouettes of different animals using the same style of the stenciled hands in Cueva de las Manos. This representation acknowledges animals, whose contribution has been “printed” in many science achievements. After all, we owe them most of our medical discoveries.