On This Day in Weird, May 13...
1572: Italian naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi, the "father of natural history studies," records a peasant's killing of a "fearsome dragon" outside Bologna. Aldrovandi examines the dragon's head and declares its appearance a good omen for his cousin Ugo Boncompagni, recently installed as Pope Gregory XIII. A lifelong student of dragons, who displayed one on his coat of arms, Aldrovandi also obtained a small specimen, slightly larger than a human hand, still on display at the Biblioteca Universitaria di Bologna. Skeptics say Aldrovandi created that specimen, assembling part of a snake, a fish and a bird, then lied about its discovery.
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