How A Fur-Bearing Trout Made It Into A Denver Science Museum Display

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Fur bearing trout
A furry trout that has been procured by the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

There's a fur-bearing trout mounted on a wood at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. It looks like something that should be on the wall of a bar, not a museum. There's definitely something fishy about it.

That's because it is a fraud -- from the 1930s, when Wilbur Foshay, a former Minnesota tycoon who'd been convicted in a pyramid scheme, came to Colorado to work with the Chamber of Commerce in Salida. One of his ideas for attracting tourists to the town was to create the fiction of furry trout navigating the chilly Arkansas River in the winter.

The museum hasn't been hoodwinked. The trout is part of it's "Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids" exhibit that runs through Sept. 7.

Samantha Richards, an educator at the museum, spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner, explaining how myths were fueled by misinterpretations of evidence -- and sometimes by outright fraud.