I can’t help but pity Dr. Beringer.
via The Museum of Hoaxes:
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Dr. Johann Bartholomew Adam Beringer (1667-1740) was a Senior Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Würzburg in Germany. Like many physicians of the time, he cultivated an interest in natural history. In particular, he was intrigued by what was called the study of oryctics, or “things dug from the earth.” Today we would call this the study of fossils, or paleontology.
Beringer kept a collection of interesting fossils he had acquired over the years. Until 1725 his collection was quite ordinary, but then, on May 31, 1725, some remarkable new pieces came into his possession. They were delivered to him by three local boys he had paid to explore nearby Mount Eivelstadt and bring him any interesting objects they might find.