Carl Linnaeus’s Mermaids

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Carl Linnaeus was an 18th-century botanist who developed a system of classification and taxonomy that we still use today. He saw similarities that allowed plants and animals to be grouped into categories, and he believed in a lot of mythical creatures that no one had ever seen.

One creature classified in his Systema Naturae was the kraken, which he assigned the scientific name Microcosmus marinus. The kraken was in the first few editions of the book (with the footnote that he had never seen one).

He also wrote about mermaids. He did believe that he had seen this creature, which he described in the 10th edition of his master work. The mermaid was housed in a museum in Leyden, had come from Brazil, and was fed a diet of little fish and pieces of bread

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