Thursday, July 06, 2006

Johannes Bartholomäus Adam Beringer
Here is a selection of some amazingly detailed and strangely abstracted depictions of real life creatures. The lack of interior definition in some of them gives them a very bizarre cartoon like appearance. Be sure to click on the "high resolution image" links below each picture to see them at incredibly large sizes.

Pages 115 - 137 have the illustrations, the rest of the pages appear to be mostly text.


Paul Rumsey said...

Hi Aeron
These drawings are a record of a funny and cruel hoax, Beringer was interested in fossils, he had enemies at Wurzburg University. They conspired to ruin his reputation. A professor, Ignatz Roderic carved these strange creatures from sandstone, he gave them to some boys who pretended to find them on Mount Eivelstadt, they sold over 200 of them to Beringer, who did the drawings and published them in this book. When he realised that he had been tricked he tried to have all copies of the book destroyed.Paul.

aeron said...

That's a very sad but intriguing back story on these, thanks Paul. Strangely though one of these faked fossils appears similar to one of the fossils later found in the Burgess Shale, the Hallucigenia sparsa. The centipede looking thing to the left in the pic I've attached in the post appears similar to it.

Paul rumsey said...

I recognise the Hallucigenia from your Cambrian Lifeforms post 11/27/06. I think the Beringer is meant to be the ribcage of a bird.
The info on Beringer comes from a book, "Animal Fakes and Frauds" by Peter Dance....the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, "fejee" mermaid etc.
It also includes Snouters, also known as Rhinogrades, from the book by Harold Stumpke, illustrated by Gerolf Steiner....there are good pictures of Snouters on google images...

Paul Rumsey said...

Harald Stumpke, not Harold, sorry.