Jacob Bobart the younger, and son of a German horticulturist of the same name, who superintended the Physic Garden in Oxford, in the seventeenth century, once played an ingenious hoax on the learned of that university. He found a large dead rat in the garden, and transformed it by art into the shape of a dragon, as represented in old and curious books of natural history, particularly in Aldrovandus. This was shown to various learned men, all of whom believed it to be a genuine and invaluable specimen of the dragon. Many fine copies of verses were written by the literati, in honor of Bobart and his matchless discovery, and persons flocked from all parts to see it. Bobart owned the cheat some years after, but it was for a long time preserved as a masterpiece of art.
From The Percy Anecdotes