Mermaids and Mastodons: The Natural and Unnatural History of Non-Existent Creatures, Unbelievable Monsters, Animal Recently Extinct, and Living Fossils
1960, Arrow Books
1961, Scientific Book Guild
Later editions by various other publishers
A wonderfully readable book describing man’s triumphs and dreadful errors in natural discovery. Relates with original sources, the possible origins of mysterious or mythical animals such as mermaids, lake monsters, sea serpents, Kraken, and dragons. We’ve discovered surprises, like the platypus, and we’ve missed discoveries that may still be out there, like the sea serpent. We’ve manufactured discoveries, such as feejee mermaids and have discovered our power of destruction of species. This is a well-written, coherent and entertaining book in a scientific light. Though it ends on a sad note of what we’ve lost and have yet to lose.
Available used, commonly held library volume.