Zoology wasn’t always a precise science. Thousands of year ago, people like Aristotle and Pliny the Elder did their best to compile everything anyone knew about animals into massive, encyclopedic tomes. But they didn’t always get the details right.
Before airplanes, cameras, and Google, most people had never seen an elephant. If they wanted to know what an elephant looked like, their only option was to ask someone who had—and they pretty much had to believe whatever they heard. Sometimes, they wrote those crazy answers down—and for nearly 2,000 years, people around Europe just accepted these things as true.