A long time ago, before the camera was invented, people didn’t have precise methods for cataloging and understanding the world.
Scientists had no way of proving whether or not mythical creatures truly existed. Instead, they relied on their own observations and the stories from others, like travelers, merchants, or explorers, who often exaggerated or misremembered their encounters.
Scientific journals and encyclopedias from as late as the mid-19th century were often filled with drawings of mythical creatures that scientists thought could be real. These mystery creatures appeared next to real-life animals. This was the result of a combination of religious beliefs and the vast swathes of Earth that had yet to be explored. Additionally, some naturalists mistook the accounts of deformed animals or humans to create human-animal hybrids or demonic-looking creatures.
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Sometimes the people could describe for example wolf or elephant in such an exaggerated way, that the result could look like something completely different and mystical.
In some instances, animals we now view to be common knowledge such as tigers and hyenas were inaccurately drawn simply because they were difficult for witnesses to describe; antelopes were drawn like scaly dragons while elephants were drawn missing their big ears.
Scientists primarily relied on the accounts of explorers
Additionally, because of the limitations of travel, historians and scientists primarily relied on the accounts of explorers to catalog the world’s beasts. Cartographers commonly drew ferocious sea monsters on their maps based on the anecdotes of exhausted sailors who claimed to have encountered them.
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Maps and journals that depicted serpents and sea dragons were commonplace. Even whales, known as gentle giants with smooth features, were considered terrifying beasts with faces adorned with horns and fangs. Often, fear drove these illustrations until new observations helped naturalists to better understand these animals.
In those times people did what they could to document the rich biodiversity of our planet but it was only recently when science let us do it precisely.
The Ichthyocentaur is a creature with origins in Greek mythology, legend, and folklore. The first two known Ichthyocentaurs were named Aphros and Bythos and were sons of the Titan god Kronos and the goddess nymph Philyra
The mythological ichtyocentaur was described as a sea creature with an upper-body of a human, the lower front of the horse, and the tail of fish.
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3. Giant cockerel