50.0 MB (5.7 MB compressed)
5189 x 3368 pixels
43.9 x 28.4 cm ⏐ 17.3 x 11.2 in (300dpi)
PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Elephant" a 1607 engraving with later tinting from Edward Topsell's "History of four Footed Beasts". Topsell produced one of the first English Printed Bestiaries, containing reports from other authors such as Pliny, Albertus and Gesner (1551 from which this woodcut is clearly derived). He included such received wisdoms as that elephants worship the sun and the moon, and that they become pregnant by chewing mandrake. He also reported that if you touch an elephant's trunk it cures headaches (no mention is made of an antidote for trampling). Topsell appears to realise the weakness of these derived accounts and states "I would have the Reader - imagine I have - (not) related all that is ever said of the beasts, but only (what) is said by many". As John Leinhard points out, this is an early attempt at 'scientific' validation.
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