Jackalope Legend

Lots of Americans think that we invented the legend of the jackalope in the early 1900s. It’s almost always shown as a rabbit with deer antlers.

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But people all over the world have seen them for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years.

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Here’s an image of a horned rabbit from the 1570s, published in the Animalia Qvadrvpedia et Reptilia (Terra) by Joris Hoefnagel:

horned hare

Some naturalists in the 16th and 17th centuries believed the horned rabbit was real, just a different species of rabbit. A posthumous edition of the Historia Animalium Quadrupedum by Conrad Gesner (1516-1565), which is considered to be the first modern zoological book, contained these figures of the skull and head of a “lepus cornutus” (horned hare):

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Authors back then included not only animals that people had seen, but also those they had only heard or read about, assuming they were real. Another reason you shouldn’t necessarily believe everything you read in a book!

Gravure d'un lièvre cornu, issue du Tableau Encyclopédique et Méthodique de 1789

1789 Tableau Encyclopédique et Méthodique by Pierre Joseph Bonnaterre

 

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