Esta espécie de crustáceo (Lepas anatifera) é conhecida como a craca-ganso (Goose Barnacle). Pertence a ordem Pedunculata, que agrupa crustáceos marinhos com apêndices filtradores da água do mar para pegar comida. Quando jovens nadam livres como larvas e quando adultos, formam uma casca dura e vivem ligados a superfícies submersas duras. É fácil encontrá-los nas praias, agarrados a troncos e madeiras trazidas pelo mar.
O curioso é que existe também uma espécie de ganso conhecida com o mesmo nome invertido (Barnacle Goose), porque houve um tempo em que se pensava que um tinha nascido do outro.

A fonte do velho mal-entendido decorre do fato de que os seres humanos nem sempre souberam que as aves migravam. As pessoas que vivem na Europa temperada, perto dos gansos barnacle, nunca tinham visto os pássaros colocar ovos ou criar os filhotes, por isso era um mistério o lugar de onde eles vieram. Olhando ao redor, aparentemente algumas mentes criativas conectaram estas cracas com os pássaros, porque elas tem uma aparência que lembram o bico das aves.

Foi por volta do final do século XII, que o bispo Gerald de Gales publicou o livro Topographia Hiberniae, após a invasão bem-sucedida do rei João em partes da Irlanda. Nele, ele descreveu como os pássaros não eram nascidos da carne, porque nasciam primeiro como pedaços de goma em troncos de madeira lavados pelas ondas, encerrados em conchas com formato de bicos, como se fossem musgo agarrado à madeira e, por fim, no decorrer do tempo, obtendo uma cobertura segura de penas, mergulhavam nas águas ou voavam para o ar livre… Dizia ele que tinha visto muitas vezes milhares de corpúsculos diminutos deste tipo de pássaro pendurados a um tronco na margem do mar, encerrados em conchas.
Foi assim que o mito nasceu e se espalhou pela Europa e continuou após centenas de anos.
Mesmo com o mistério esclarecido, os nomes das duas espécies permaneceram e são grandes lembretes sobre o quanto não sabiam e quanto ainda não sabemos sobre o mundo natural.


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