Coconut Crusher… This Morning to Trinity College, where the roguish and not altogether trustworthy Captain Charles Mulligan, lately unaccountably Knighted by His Majesty, is to present to tout Dublin the fruits of his labours in the uncharted regions of the South Seas. Rumours abound of new & exotick species that Mulligan has conveyed from the many islands there; of enormous insects, talking horses, and tiny homunculi.
The publisher Motte availed me of the gist of one exhibit presented by said Capt. at the Trocadero in London; a curious creature that eats only the Cocoanuts of its tropickal home, and lacking either the brute strength or sheer weight to effect access to the soft & edible parts within, must contrive to split the shell by other means. As a well placed blow with an axe can crack open any impenetrable Nut, so does this creature use the axe-like bony occipital crest furnished it by Nature to split the shell by grasping the cocoanut fast between its paws & ramming said Nut hard upon its head. The air of these tropical isles is said to be thick with the crack of shells and the calls of triumph (or pain) of these strange animals.
Diary entry, Jonathan Swift, 23 March 1723