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THIS IS HOW PEOPLE IMAGINE EXOTIC ANIMALS BASED ONLY ON WHAT THEY HEARD

Long ago, the basic way of sharing information and knowledge were stories. Later these stories were written. The content, however, had to be complemented with illustrations. As you’ll see, people imagined exotic animals in various ways but they all were far from reality. The further you go back in that history, the less likely those “monsters” were accurate.

Crocodiles from Liber Floridus (Book of Flowers), an encyclopedia by Lambert, Canon of Saint-Omer between 1090 and 1120.




Crocodile from the Rochester Bestiary, c. 1225-1250.



Elephants from the Rochester Bestiary, c. 1225-1250



Lion from the Rochester Bestiary, c. 1225-1250



Lions and other animals from the Rochester Bestiary, c. 1225-1250



A colorful panther



Crocodile from the Northumberland Bestiary, fol. 49v, mid-1250s



Elephant from the 13th century, by Guillaume le Clerc



Elephant from Italy, c. 1440



Lions from the Ashmole Bestiary (f.10v), 1511



Whale from Adriaen Coenen's Visboek (Fish Book), 1560s



Elephant and giraffe by Noè Bianco, 1568



Crocodile form The History of Four-Booted Beasts and Serpents, by Edward Topsell, 1658



Beaver form The History of Four-Booted Beasts and Serpents, by Edward Topsell, 1658



Dromedary form The History of Four-Booted Beasts and Serpents, by Edward Topsell, 1658



Antalope form The History of Four-Booted Beasts and Serpents, by Edward Topsell, 1658



A striped hyena by Aloys Zötl, 1831



Gibbons by Aloys Zötl, 1833




Cheetah by Aloys Zötl, 1837



Rhinoceros by Aloys Zötl, 1861



Sea turtle, by Aloys Zötl, 1867



Walrus by Aloys Zötl, 1879



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