What a ridiculous creature! Can you imagine! How could anyone have ever believed…
Yeah. This one makes me wonder how many of the critters over at A Book of Creatures are second- or third-hand misunderstandings of real animals.
Thevet’s visit to the island of Hispaniola turned up a number of unusual and exotic creatures, one of which is a grass-eating fish known as the Bocarin or Manati.
Found in both rivers and the ocean, the bocarin looks primarily like a full wineskin tapering from the navel to the end of the tail. This corpulent monster is 20 feet long and 10 feet wide, and has grey skin with sparse hair. It has two legs at its shoulders, which it uses to swim with, and round, four-toed elephant’s feet with prominent nails. Its head is like that of an ox, except with a smaller face, much smaller eyes, and a much larger and fleshier chin. Females bocarins give birth to live young, and suckle them from teats much like whales do.
Thevet deemed it to be the most deformed and grotesque fish he had ever seen in…
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