THE LINDA HALL LIBRARY HISTORY OF SCIENCE COLLECTION
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,
"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.