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What On Earth Is This Bizarre Creature?

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Danielle Andrew

Editorial Intern

clockJul 17 2015, 17:49 UTC
1178 What On Earth Is This Bizarre Creature?
Jenny Haniver specimen found at The Natural History Museum, London.

Take a look - what do you think this weird, crusty-looking creature is?!

M.Violante/Wikimedia Commons

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The images have been circulated around social media for years, with the most imaginative guesses including dragons, devils, mermaids and of course, aliens.

Jenny Haniver specimen, which featured in the Natural History Museum's 2010 exhibition, The Deep.

Called a Jenny Haniver, these creepy-looking creatures are actually dried sting rays or skates – the carcasses are believed to have been elaborately manipulated into a certain shape as they were dried out.

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Why would anyone do this? No one is really sure when or where the first Jenny Haniver was created, where the name comes from, or even why they were made. The earliest known picture of a Jenny Haniver appeared in Konrad Gesner's Historia Animalium vol. IV, and it’s believed that they were made by sailors who would sell the strange creatures as oddities or mermaids from far off lands to the ignorant public.

Not one but two masters of deception. Salvador Dali. Source unknown.


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