1 What Makes Man Different From Other Forms Of Animals The Man Who Loved Unicorns

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The Man Who Loved Unicorns

The museum of Ole Worm (1558-1654) was the first museum in Denmark. It was filled with all kinds of exotica, from old fossils to stuffed animals, and many of these objects still exist today. Since he was obsessed with collecting objects of all kinds, his museum is rich in detail. Nothing seems too small or too shallow for her. For example, he was interested in lemmings and managed to prove the fact that they were actually rodents. The old, alternative thought, which was still very popular, was that they were simply generated from air. Another old myth that troubled him was that of the birds of paradise, which were supposed to have no legs. Once again he proved the myth untrue as they really did have legs. He did this by drawing them.

However, his most illustrative exploit was that of unicorns. Legend went that they were magical animals, but he determined that they did not exist, which was quite logical since no one had ever seen them. It also proved the truth that their famous, magical horns were none other than narwhals. Surprisingly, he himself could not let go of some other superstitious beliefs about unicorns. One of them was that the horns of these animals, admittedly non-existent, could heal people when they were poisoned. To prove the legend was true, he tried to poison his pets to then feed them to herds of narwhals to save them. According to his reports, they actually survived being poisoned when feeding on herds of narwhals.

Perhaps it is this experiment that gave him the infamous HP Lovecraft character Olaus Wormius, who translated “Grimoire the Necronomicon” from Arabic into Latin. This literary character is quite creepy, which Ole Worm seems not to have been.

When he died of a bladder disorder, his rich collection of exotics was sold to the Danish king, Frederik III, who turned it into the basis of The Royal Kunstkammer. This collection of historical artifacts can still be seen today as part of the Zoological Museum in Copenhagen.

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