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It was once thought that pterodactyls were mammals similar to bats, and these 1843 drawings by Edward Newman depicted them with screaming possum faces.

The faces look like they don't belong to bodies, like a game of exquisite corpse or a surrealist version of the unfinished horse drawing meme

@erinbee big Calvin “bats are bugs” presentation energy here

@alex Except other paleontologists and biologists were like hmmmm, yes, but the ears? That's absurd!

@prehensile BRB, publishing a leatherbound tome of images like these as "Fursonae Victoriana: References of 19th Century England."

@erinbee i feeling like my leg might be getting pulled here, but either way this is amazing

@brennen Nope, and here's an 1857 drawing by Philip Gosse that built on Newman's idea, but Gosse thought they didn't have ears

@erinbee @brennen how have we fallen from such potential. This could have been in Jurassic Park :blob_melt_sob_love:

@erinbee @Crazypedia let's eat trash and get hit by a <del>car</del> planetkilling meteor

@erinbee gosse was an interesting, conflicted dude. On one hand, he was an incredibly talented naturalist, on the other his Brethren faith didn't allow him anything but a biblical view of creation.

@erinbee my daughter wrote a play for her honours year which revolves around misidentified fossils (a sea-serpent, Hydrarchos, which was actually four or five whales), this is going to ruin her

@mikelynch I hope it's both mind-bendingly awful and hilarious to her 😆

@MLISrevenge This definitely comes close to the line of “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.”

@nev @erinbee *runs around the room flapping garbage bag arms and screaming SCREEEE-GAAAAW*

@nev Lucky for you, so did a bunch of paleontologists!

@erinbee this is the best thing, thank you for sharing this delight

@pagrus Instagram's explore page suggests a lot of cool stuff to me that's unsourced, so I go fact checking and end up finding even better stuff sometimes.

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