The tortoise, 1608.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Woodcut from 'The historie of serpents' by Edward Topsell (1572-1625?) published in London in 1687. Topsell's main source was 'Historiae animalium' by Conrad Gesner (1516-1565) published in 1551. He translated and edited Gesner's text, adding long additional sections. The engravings are exact reproductions of those in Gesner's work. This book complemented Topsell's 'Historie of foure-footed beastes', published the year before. It summarized all real and mythical zoological knowledge collected since antiquity, but it was soon rendered obsolete by new discoveries.