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Johann Jacob Scheuchzer (1672-1733)

What to make of fossils? Aristotle thought that they grew in the earth, Christian scholars pointed to the Biblical flood. In 1726 this fossil was discovered in Germany.

The Swiss naturalist Johann Jacob Scheuchzer (1672-1733) acquired it, and made a description: according to him here we had a man, drowned in the flood - the

sad bony frame of an old sinner” that would soften the heart of new children of evil!”

He described the skeleton in his monumental work on the natural history of the Bible, one of the most beautiful books ever produced. A copy of this work with hundreds of beautiful engravings can be studied at the Embassy of the Free Mind.

Scheuchzer’s heirs sold the fossil to the Teylers Museum in Haarlem. There it was examined by the great zoologist Cuvier who established that it was a giant salamander.

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