Uli Westphal

2006 – 2007


This bilingual audioguide with 44 tracks
gives a retrospective view on how humans
perceived and described animals
throughout the last 2350 years.
All quotations are marked by strange,
sometimes erroneous conceptions and
misinterpretations of the seen; often
inflicted by the author‘s intense impressions
during the primal encounter with
an unknown creature, as well as his general
dependence on established belief
and knowledge systems, that guided the
birth of modern zoology.


Of the Beaver

In respect of his tail, [the beaver] is a
perfect fish, and has been judicially
declared such by the College of Physicians
at Paris, and the faculty of divinity
have, in consequence of this declaration,
pronounced it lawful to be eaten on
days of fasting.


Thomas Jefferys, 1760
From: The Natural and Civil History of the
French Dominions in North and South
America by Thomas Jefferys
(2 vols., London, 1760) Vol 1: page 27
Quoted in: Travelers‘ Tales of Colonial
Natural History by James R. Masterson,
The Journal of American Folklore,
Vol. 59, No. 231. (Jan. - Mar., 1946),
page 53