A Bolivian Saurian

The following excerpt was published in 1883 in the Scientific American:


A Bolivian Saurian

“The Brazilian Minister at La Paz, Bolivia, has remitted to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Rio photographs of drawings of an extraordinary saurian killed on the Beni after receiving thirty-six balls. By order of the President of Bolivia the dried body, which had been preserved in Asuncion, was sent to La Paz. It is twelve meters long from snout to point of the tail, which latter is flattened. Besides the anterior head, it has, four meters behind, two small but completely formed heads(?) rising from the back. All three have much resemblance to the head of a dog. The legs are short, and end in formidable claws. The legs, belly, and lower part of the throat appear defended by a kind of scale armor, and all the back is protected by a still thicker and double cuirass, starting from behind the ears of the anterior head, and continuing to the tail. The neck is long, and the belly large and almost dragging on the ground. Professor Gilveti, who examined the beast, thinks it is not a monster, but a member of a rare or almost lost species, as the Indians in some parts of Bolivia use small earthen vases of identical shape, and probably copied from nature.” Mr. William E. A. Axon, in a note giving the above to the Journal of Science, says: “If this account should prove to be accurate, it would form a counterpart to the etching of the mammoth, which forms so interesting a memorial of prehistoric art.”

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