Animalia Paradoxa

Table of the Animal Kingdom ("Regnum Animale") from the 1st edition of Systema Naturæ (1735)

Animalia Paradoxa[1] (Latin for "contradictory animals"; cf. paradox) are the mythical, magical or otherwise suspect animals mentioned in editions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 of Carl Linnaeus's seminal work Systema Naturae under the header "Paradoxa". It lists fantastic creatures found in medieval bestiaries as well as those reported by explorers from abroad and gives explanations to why they are excluded from Systema Naturae. According to Swedish historian Gunnar Broberg, it was to offer a natural explanation and demystify the world of superstition.[2] Paradoxa was dropped from Linnaeus' classification system as of the 6th edition (1748).[3]


These 10 taxa appear only in the 1st (1735) and 3rd editions:

The above 10 taxa and the 4 taxa following were in the 2nd (1740) edition and the 4th and 5th editions (total 14 entries):[9]


  1. von Linné, C. (1744). Caroli Linnæi medic. & botan. in acad. Upsaliensi professoris ... Systema naturæ: In quo proponuntur naturæ regna tria secundum classes, ordines, genera & species. Sumptibus Michaelis-Antonii David. p. 102. Retrieved 2015-04-05.
  2. Tore Frängsmyr, Sten Lindroth, Gunnar Eriksson & Gunnar Broberg (1983). Linnaeus, the man and his work. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. pp. 176–177. ISBN 0-7112-1841-2.
  3. Sandra Knapp (2002). "Fact and fantasy". Nature. 415 (6871): 479. Bibcode:2002Natur.415..479K. doi:10.1038/415479a. Also available on Scribd. Linnaeus remarked in edition 6 (as translated) as at this link: "I have come to these conclusions by personally leading my pupils on wanderings through the tangled web of nature, in order that I can spur others on to an examination and explanation of nature rather than the reiteration of perceived ideas ... I shall take exception to the tales of actors and the barkings of dogs with equal measure.".
  4. S. W. Garman (1877). "Pseudis, the paradoxical frog". The American Naturalist. 11 (10): 587–591. doi:10.1086/271961. JSTOR 2447862.
  5. Dobson, =Andy; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Kuris, Armand M.; Hechinger, Ryan F. Hechinger & Jetz, Jetz (2008). "Homage to Linnaeus: How many parasites? How many hosts?" (PDF). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 105 (Suppl. 1): 11482–11489. Bibcode:2008PNAS..10511482D. doi:10.1073/pnas.0803232105. PMC 2556407Freely accessible. PMID 18695218.
  6. 1 2 Carl Linnaeus, Systema naturae (1735; facsimile of the first edition), trans. M. S. J. Engel-Ledeboer and H. Engel (Nieuwkoop, Netherlands: B. de Graaf, 1964), 30. via
  7. Jan Bondeson (1999). "Spontaneous generation". The Feejee Mermaid and Other Essays in Natural and Unnatural History. Cornell University Press. pp. 193–249. ISBN 978-0-8014-3609-3.
  8. Hulme, F.E. (1886). Myth-land. S. Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington. p. 168. Retrieved 2015-04-05.
  9. von Linné, C. (1740). Systema naturae in quo naturae regna tria: secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, systematice proponuntur. Apud G. Kiesewetter. p. 66. Retrieved 2015-04-05.
  10. Peter Artedi, 1738, Philosophia Ichthyologica, p. 81.

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