Punch,  58 (1870), 175.

A Live Sea-Serpent



News-Commentary, Drollery


Hunting, Zoology, Animal Behaviour, Specimen Trading, Evolution, Animal Development, Darwinism

    Presents an extract concerning the discovery by a waterman of an alligator in the River Thames. The creature was taken to the specimen trader, Johann C C Jamrach, who was told by a police constable that he had no right to detain it. Punch thinks it idle to inquire how the alligator crossed the Atlantic or to 'speculate on the probability that it escaped from some vessel importing it for Mr. Jamrach, or for the Zoological Society'. Speculates that the alligator might be 'a development of a water-eft [a form of newt]', arguing that if Charles R Darwin's 'theory is right, the wonder is that we do not rather frequently find such a small novelty turn up as that of an alligator in the Thames'. Finally suggests that it may have developed from 'the inner-consciousness of an unusually imaginative penny-a-liner'. Finally reveals that the creature was a lacert (lizard) that had escaped from Jamrach's collection.

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]