Eoörnis Pterovelox Gobiensis

"Eoörnis pterovelox gobiensis" is a fictional bird, a humorous hoax by Lester W. Sharp, professor of botany, Cornell University, United States.

It was initially a short talk presented together with a graduate student, Cuthbert Fraser, about the most unusual bird from the Gobi Desert, called woofen-poof by the local populace. [ [http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/eoornis.html "The Woofen-Poof (aka "Eoörnis pterovelox gobiensis")"] ] "Eoornis pterovelox gobiensis", by Augustus C. Fotheringham, "Quarterly Review of Biology", Vol. 51, 50th Anniversary Special Issue, 1926-1976 (1976), pp. 90-91] (Compare "woofen-poof" to Whiffenpoof and WFF 'N PROOF.) Eventually it grew into a 34-page monograph signed by an Augustus C. Fotheringham, Sc.D. (Cantab.), F.R.G.S., printed by "The Buighleigh Press" in 1928, full of illustrated detail of anatomy, physiology, ecology, evolution, and historical references, complete with Cro-Magnon cave paintings — all inspired by a car mascot of a pelican. [Humor in the Scientific Literature, Ralph A. Lewin, "BioScience", Vol. 33, No. 4 (Apr., 1983), pp. 266-268 doi|10.2307/1309040] For example, "Pterovelox" "is perhaps most frequently observed in a peculiar resting position — legs straight out behind with the feet on the rock, tree branch or other object, the body being supported by continuous vibration of wings".

The monograph has later been reprinted several times in the form of a Ph.D. thesis.Augustus C. Fotheringham (2007) "Eoörnis pterovelox gobiensis", lulu.com ISBN 1906267057]

The peculiarities of the bird's mating were even unwittingly quoted in a eugenics article on consanguineous marriages in 1934: "A new, and recently authenticated, case of naturally determined incest, appears to have been discovered by the British Museum Expedition to the Gobi Desert in 1929, when a bird, the "Eoörnis pterovelox gobiensis", was found, which hatches twins at each birth, a male and a female, and these same individuals later mate and are monogamous." [Anthony M. Ludovici, [http://www.anthonymludovici.com/eugenics.htm "Eugenics and consanguineous marriages"] , "The Eugenics Review" 25, 1933–34, pp. 147–155]

Harriet Creighton recalls her witnessing how the woofen-poof hoax backfired on the hoaxer himself. In her presence, Professor Sharp was reading with disbelief a review on "Eoörnis"..." published in "The Quarterly Review of Biology" (Pearl 1930, reprinted in 1976) and was truly under the impression that the reviewer was hoaxed until he reached the end, which made clear that the review was on par with the reviewed article. [ [http://www.botany.org/PlantScienceBulletin/PSB-2005-51-4.php#HARRIET "Harriet B. Creighton: Proud Botanist"] , "Plant Science Bulletin" 2005, vol. 51, no. 4, pp. 118-125 ]

ee also

*Other "huffing and puffing"
**Fattypuffs and Thinifers, a children's book by Andre Maurois published in 1930
**Captain Huffenpuff
**Cracker Jack had a cracker box prize called "Woofenpoof" [ [http://members.cox.net/jeepers/woof.html "What is this critter?"] ]


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  • Lester W. Sharp — Lester Whyland Sharp (April 21, 1887, Saratoga Springs, New York [Charles H. Uhl, Lester Whyland Sharp , Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, 1962, Vol. 89, No. 3] mdash;July 17, 1961, Nuevo, California) was an American botanist, a pioneer in… …   Wikipedia

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