1554 Rondelet's Sea Monk Monster

1554 Rondelet's Sea Monk Monster

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Sea Monk from Guillaume Rondelet's Libri de Piscibus Marinis (Book of Marine Fishes), publishedin 1554. Rondelet dated the discoveryof the sea monk to 1546 when the Danish king, Christian III, sent to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (then in Spain) drawings of a creature that had been caught in the Oresund, the strait between the island of Saelland (Denmark) and Sweden. Described as the fish with the habit of a monk piscis monachi habitu. His fellow zoologist Pierre Belon wrote a similar but apparently seperate account with illustration in 1553. It has long been thought the original specimen might have been a giant squid - but the angelshark squatina may be a better contender on the basis of where it was found and the described morphology (see Paxton and Holland, Steenstrupia 2005).

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Keywords: angel, animal, bishop, color, colour, fantasy, first, fish, giant, guillaume, illustration, medieval, monk, monster, myth, mythical, naturalist, original, renaissance, rondelet, rondeletius, rondeletus, sea, shark, squid, woodcut

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