Admire Aristole about to dissect a goose in a session with his Peripatetic disciples as portrayed on the painted frieze of Great Greeks designed in the porch of the great hall of the National and Capodistrian University of Athens, a spectacular neoclassical building on which work started in 1841.
The frieze was designed by the Austrian Carl Rahl, who believed that Aristotle had dissected a goose. In the History of Animals
, a goose appears in Aristotle’s discussion of male reproductive anatomy in animals which have blood. Because he says here that the goose’s reproductive organ is difficult to see except straight after copulation, most scholars infer that a goose was one of the numerous different organisms he dissected. This seems even more likely since in Generation of Animals
he claims that no bird has a penis. He has discovered it in the goose by careful laboratory observation.
This goose, however, is just one in a list which includes fish, snakes, ring-doves, partridges, lizards, turtles, tortoises, dolphins, elephants, hedgehogs, and pigs. Theoretically, at least, we could have had any of these portrayed on the mural. And this is where Rahl's tastes came in. I think he chose a goose from that list because, like all European painters then, he had been trained in the Dutch ‘Still Life’ tradition and liked painting the feathered wings of dead game birds. See further here