My family recently visited the Natural History Museum in London, UK. As we slowly made our way through the labyrinth of reconstructed fossils, skeletons, and taxidermied specimens, I was reminded of a anachronistic okapi that appeared, briefly but memorably to me, in the third season of Penny Dreadful.
In Penny Dreadful, the character of Dr. Alexander Sweet is the director of zoological studies at the very same Natural History Museum. In the second episode of season 3, Dr. Sweet and lead character, Vanessa Ives, tour the museum, which includes a taxidermied okapi specimen positioned correctly, from an evolutionary perspective, near the giraffe skeleton (seen below in the far left of the screenshot).
The enigmatic okapi, the “ghost of the forest”, often considered mythological by European explorers, was formally described to Western science in 1901 CE. Which makes one wonder where Dr. Sweet’s museum found their specimen*?
It could just be a mistake or it could be a hint. I’d elaborate, but spoilers…
Piled Higher and Deeper gets an assist from Nick Shockey and Jonathan Eisen to explain the open access in scientific publishing.
*Hat tip to Andrew Thaler.