Cleaning the elephant skin

Museum staff cleaning an elephant skin at the American Museum of Natural History, June 1933.

Museum staff cleaning an elephant skin at the American Museum of Natural History, June 1933. Image: Thane L. Bierwert, via the archives of the American Museum of Natural History, New York.

Museum staff cleaning an elephant skin at the American Museum of Natural History, June 1933.

Museum staff cleaning the skin of an elephant at the American Museum of Natural History, June 1933. Image: Thane L. Bierwert, via the archives of the American Museum of Natural History, New York.

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A strange humanoid creature: Charles Waterton’s ‘Nondescript’

Weird humanoid creature made by Charles Waterton.

Charles Waterton, The ‘Nondescript’, ca 1824. (Wakefield Museum)

I think that probably every person, at some point in their lives, gets the urge to make their own ridiculously interesting creature out of the shaved a** of a monkey. (Right?) Well this grim little fellow is the product of that impulse, created around 1824 by an eccentric but well-respected 19th century English naturalist, Charles Waterton (1782-1865). Continue reading