One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A bestiary; specifically that of Epiphanius.
Late 17th century; earliest use found in John Edwards (1637–1716), Church of England clergyman. From post-classical Latin physiologus person who inquires into natural causes and phenomena, especially as the title of a bestiary translated from Greek from ancient Greek ϕυσιολόγος natural philosopher (from ϕυσιο- + -λόγος: see -loger), in Hellenistic Greek and Byzantine Greek also the title of a Greek bestiary (with moral and theological applications) preserved in three major recensions, of which the second was formerly attributed to Epiphanius (died a.d. 403), but is now dated to the 5th or 6th cent. or perhaps the 11th cent.
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