It was the 1980s when, in Milan, what was later nicknamed the ‘monster-mermaid ‘. An exhibit of about 30 cm that fascinates a little and a little frightens. To find it, hidden behind a cavity of the Natural History Museum in Corso Venezia, was Giorgio Teruzzi, a retired paleontologist. Yet, even today, it returns to “cyclically make people curious”, as he said to Courier service Giorgio Bardelli, curator of the vertebrate zoology section.
“Nobody knew where it came from, there were no documents or cards attached. The suspicion is that it could have belonged to the Villa brothers, Milanese collectors who donated pieces to the Museum “, explained the curator, adding that probably dates back to before 1943, when the flames destroyed many of the Museum’s finds.
However the science was clear: “From the x-rays we know that inside there is a wooden frame and iron inserts while the widest part of the body is made of papier-mâché”. Nonetheless, it is the details that arouse curiosity: human hair, bird nails and fish fins. So much so that still today research is ongoing: “The more we know, the more we realize that there are many things we don’t know”, concluded Bardelli.
Photo by Andrea Cherchi from Corriere della Sera.
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