Posted by: Karl Shuker on May 1st, 2013
Pierre Sonnerat was a famous 18th-Century French explorer and naturalist. As will be revealed here in the following ShukerNature post of mine, however, he was also a blatant hoaxer – confirmed by the curious case of New Guinea’s non-existent penguins, and kookaburra.
”Pierre Sonnerat’s publications include Voyage à la Nouvelle-Guinée (1776), documenting an expedition that he claimed to have made to the Spice Islands (now called the Moluccas) and New Guinea in 1771. From an ornithological standpoint, this publication is particularly intriguing, inasmuch as it reports the presence in New Guinea of no less than three species of penguin as well as the common kookaburra or laughing jackass Dacelo novaeguineae. In reality, however, New Guinea is unequivocally bereft of any penguin species; and whereas three smaller kookaburra species do occur in New Guinea, the common kookaburra is confined to Australia. So how can these extraordinary discrepancies in Sonnerat’s book be explained? The answer is as startling as Sonnerat’s unfounded ornithological allegations…”
Further details can be found here on my ShukerNature blog.