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Historia animalium showed the animals' places in history, literature and art. Sections of each chapter detailed the animal and its attributes, in the tradition of the emblem book. Gessner's work included facts in different languages such as the names of the animals.  Fantastical creatures [ edit ] Unicorn
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Campbell, Gordon Lindsay (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Animals in Classical Thought and Life. Oxford University Press. p.517. ISBN 978-0-19-103515-9.a b Anzovin, p. 366 item 5210 The first fossil illustrations were contained in the Historia animalium, published in 1551 by Swiss physician and naturalist Conrad von Gessner. The Historia animalium was Gessner's magnum opus, and was the most widely read of all the Renaissance natural histories. The generously illustrated work was so popular that Gessner's abridgement, Thierbuch ("Animal Book"), was published in Zurich in 1563, and in England Edward Topsell translated and condensed it as a Historie of foure-footed beastes (London: William Jaggard, 1607). [ 1] Gessner’s monumental work attempts to build a connection between the ancient knowledge of the animal world, its title the same as Aristotle's work on animals, and what was known at his time. He then adds his own observations, and those of his correspondents, in an attempt to formulate a comprehensive description of the natural history of animals. [ 2] While there is consensus that the History of Animals was aimed mostly at describing attributes of animals, there is a debate about whether or not it suggests that Aristotle was also interested in producing a taxonomy. Most philosophers who have studied the History of Animals and Aristotle's other writings suggest that Aristotle was not trying to produce a taxonomy,  but more recent studies by biologists reach different conclusions.    Contents [ edit ] Scaliger's edition with his commentary, Toulouse, 1619
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The text contains some claims that appear to be errors. Aristotle asserted in book II that female humans, sheep, goats, and swine have a smaller number of teeth than the males. This apparently false claim could have been a genuine observation, if as Robert Mayhew suggests  women at that time had a poorer diet than men; some studies have found that wisdom teeth erupt in men more often than women after age 25.  But the claim is not true of other species either. Thus, Philippa Lang argues, Aristotle may have been empirical, but he was quite laissez-faire about observation, "because [he] was not expecting nature to be misleading".  a b c d "Featured book archive: Historia animalium libri I-IV. Cum iconibus. Lib. I. De quadrupedibus uiuiparis. Zurich: C. Froschauer, 1551. N*.1.19(A)". Cambridge University Library. Archived from the original on 13 January 2019 . Retrieved 29 November 2014.Gessner was aware of fakery in the curio shops market, where dried rays were manipulated to look like dragons (for example Jenny Hanivers).  There may have also been fake mermaid-like creatures being imported from China by the Dutch.