11 • The Tusk of a Hippopotamus

11 • The Tusk of a Hippopotamus

Africa, 19th century
Size: 40 cm across
Old collection label: ‘Hippo’s Teeth’

This tusk has nothing to do with unicorns, obviously, but it makes the point that like elephants and rhinos, the hippo too will become extinct, erased by rapacious man. And then people will stop believing in them, and instead re-interpret their remains, probably as some kind of fish, as has happened with unicorns. The latter, of course, have disappeared because of a general lack of belief in their existence, which is a different cause from what will happen to elephants, rhinos and hippos.