Skull of 'Real' Winnie-the-Pooh Resurfaces

It's on display in London
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2015 6:36 AM CST
Skull of 'Real' Winnie-the-Pooh Resurfaces
Winnie's skull will go on display for the first time.   (Royal College of Surgeons)

You can now feast your eyes on the real-life inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh—or her skull anyway. Winnie, a female black bear named after the Canadian city of Winnipeg, was a star attraction at London Zoo in the 1920s and a favorite of Christopher Robin, who named his own teddy bear after her, explains the BBC. The stuffed animal eventually inspired his father, AA Milne, to write the Winnie-the-Pooh books. When Winnie died in 1934, her skull was kept by the Royal College of Surgeons, which recently uncovered it during a collection review, and it's now on display at London's Hunterian Museum, reports CNN. The skull shows that Winnie lost most of her teeth with age, "and we think being fed sticky sweets by children for 20 years probably didn't help," says the museum director.

"People would come to the zoo specifically to meet Winnie, to watch her playing, to have photographs taken with her, feed her honey," says a professor at London's King's College. Winnie didn't get her start at the London Zoo, though. She arrived in the UK from Canada, alongside Canadian soldier and veterinarian Harry Colebourn, who had bought her for $20, per the Huffington Post. She became the regimental mascot of the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps during World War I, but was sent to the zoo when Colebourn shipped off to France. "He had no idea that this one very simple action would go on to have such amazing consequence," Colebourn's great granddaughter says. Winnie's skull, last seen in a 1930s text book, will appear in an exhibit focusing on the link between the health of humans and animals. (It turns out that "Alice in Wonderland Syndrome" is a real thing.)

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