Historical depictions of the Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) are supposedly some of the strangest and most varied of any animal. The Swedish writer Olaus Magnus is largely to blame for this, having produced the first five. Of course, context is everything; it was the 16th Century and there were no previous models to work from, no formal science, few remains and lots of garbled anecdotes. There was really no reason to think there wasn’t an armada of tusked monsters lurking in the mysterious Arctic. The third of these depictions — which can only be described as some sort of sabre-toothed otter-pig — was labeled the “Rosmarus seu Morsus Norvegicus”, and appears to have provided the walrus with the specific part of its scientific name.
In 1598, De Veer had a close encounter with some “Sea Horses”, although somehow produced a drawing that looked like a legless otter with barely-protruding fangs. In 1613, things took a huge leap forward with Hessel Gerard’s “Walruss”, who drew the young animal from life and its mother from a mount. Apparently, this was the last time the hindlimbs of a walrus would be correctly depicted for 250 years.
In 1765, things took a bit of a step back with Buffon’s illustration, evidently made from a mount posed like a true seal, and a huge step back with Marten’s neckless “Wall-Ross”.
All of this information is from:
Allen, J. (1880) History of North American Pinnipeds. Available.
In honour of Douglas Adams’ birthday, I present to you my very favourite reading by him.
It’s an account of him preparing to go to Australia (to go check out the Komodo Dragon) by talking to an expert on poisonous animals there (who tells them they’re stupid for going).
Fantastically entertaining; I never get tired of this reading.
princessainslien asked: nEEEEEi ikke hold det hemmelig PLS
Eg har sagt det tusen gonger, Ains - eg deler ikkje kakeoppskriftene mine med nokon.
“Uphold science, eradicate superstition”
Chinese propaganda poster.