Centuries ago, before photography or mass transit, travelers would come back to Europe from Africa or Asia with tales of strange animals. Artists depicted these animals, but rarely were the travelers and the artists the same person. Medieval artists, many who could barely render a cat or chicken realistically, tried their best to draw these exotic species only from what they heard. The results weren’t accurate, but who knew that at the time? The picture of an elephant above is from the 13th century, and looks more like Snufflupagus than any real elephant. See a collection of such images, including a crocodile with long chicken legs and a panther with colorful stripes, at io9. -via Everlasting Blort
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