I know I make fun of Pliny the Elder a lot, but I genuinely can’t stop thinking about this approach to taxonomy:


[There is a fish called the tursio, which bears a strong resemblance to the dolphin; it differs from it, however, in a certain air of sadness, and is wanting in its peculiar vivacity.]

Like, imagine someone describing an animal to you, but the only information they’ll provide is that it’s sort of like another animal, but much much sadder.

okay so apparently the word “Tursio” is what people in Pliny’s time called the porpoise. for reference, here is a dolphin:

A Dolphin with it's head above the water, mouth open to look like a smile.

and here is a porpoise:

A porpoise, underwater, mouth closed.

anyways long story short Pliny was entirely correct stop bullying him

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