Interesting piece, thanks for the read!
South America is a place full of stories about mysterious beasts. Standing seven feet tall, with long red hair and big sharp claws, tales of the mapinguari, have been passed down in South American Indian folklore. An odd tapir/jaguar hybrid is also said to lurk in the deepest parts of the Amazonian rainforest. Although extremely fanciful, this hasn’t stopped explorers searching for strange creatures. Even explorers who also happened to be vice-presidents.
The principal author of the American Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson had a strong interest in the sciences. He was a member of the American Philosophical Society for 35 years, and promoted the sciences widely. In 1796, when he was the vice president of the United States, a Colonel sent Jefferson some bones, including massive claws. He thought they belonged to an enormous lion, and, because the bones looked so fresh, thought that the lion was still out…
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