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Voyages: Scientific Circumnavigations 1679 to 1859
William Dampier: 1679-1707

Hippopotamus or Mountain Cow

from A Continuation of A Voyage to New Holland,
e-c. in the year 1699 ...

London: By W. Botham for J. Knapton, 1709.

Below the Bay of Campeachy, Dampier found

"great savannahs full of Bullocks, Horses, and other animals, amongst which, the Mountain Cow (called by the Spaniards Ante) is most remarkable. This beast is as big as a Bullock ... shaped like a Cow in body ... always found in the woods near some large river; and feeds on [grass near rivers] but never in pastures of good grass as all other Bullocks do ... [and] slips into the water: where sinking down to the bottom, tho' very deep, she walks as on dry ground."

He describes manatees by name elsewhere; this creature was possibly a tapir (in spite of the rounded nose).


Near the end of this volume of the second voyage, an illustration is provided of an animal observed during the first voyage and described in Voyages and Descriptions of 1699. While exploring the area east of Vera Cruz in the gulf of Mexico, Dampier discovered a "Hippopotamus." He also refers to the animal as River Horse, River Cow, and Sea Horse.


Dampier: Page 13 of 13. The second voyage.
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