Proteus for sale and for science in the 19th Century
Trevor R. Shaw - (28/1,1999)
The cave-dwelling amphibian Proteus, first described in 1768, and possibly pictured as early as the 11th century, was by 1800 known to many scholars. From 1814 when the animals were more widely found, they were sold in markets, at inns in Postojna and sometimes outside the cave there, and guidebooks drew attention to their availability. The paper documents all this and examines what happened to the animals. Some were given to zoos, others were kept by amateur naturalists, some went to laboratories, and a few were eaten. One was offered to Darwin.