I received a comment from fellow VMs researcher who is disappointed by the negative reactions toward Tucker/Talbert Aztec solution of the Voynich manuscript. So, I am trying to explain my reaction. The authors are scientists and experts and we expect them to know better. This is why it is hard not to voice concerns about their work. Shiny example of fishy logic is the following proposal:
"...The fish illustrated on fol. 70r are most definitely the alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula). This fish is very distinctive with its pointed snout, length/width ratio, prominent interlocking scales (ganoid
scales), and the “primitive” shape and distribution of the rear fins. The alligator gar is found only in North America... Curiously, there is an addition of what seems to be “Mars” (French, March?) in a darker, different ink and handwriting at this illustration..."
Most definitely? There are no other 'snouty' fish anywhere in the world? There is no way that the Limbourg brothers modeled their 1411-1416 Pisces after alligator gar and the 15th century French fish snouts are no smaller than the ones in the VMs. Maybe the Limbourg the brothers were inspired by some pike or barbel on
the menu - the fish seems to be posing from a platter :)
So let's see how 1. Aligator gar, 2. VMs fish and 3. Limbourg
brothers Pisces compare with each other using Tucker/Talbert criteria.
Snout: check, check, check
Length/width ratio: check, check, check
Prominent interlocking scales: check, check, check
“Primitive” shape and distribution of the rear fins: check check, check
Let's add some criteria of our own.
Tail: check, check, nope
Fin on the back of the head: nope, check, check
Still no winner.
Pair of two fish: check (I've seen a photo), check, check
Ropes coming out the mouth: check (I've seen a photo), check, check
Then we have to consider circumstantial evidence.
to France: nope, check (names of the months are written in French hand,
but maybe not by the author), check (French manuscript)
to Aztec: check (they have Aztec name for the gar), check (some
similarities found with post-Columbian Spanish herbal manuscripts, but
not related to this particular image), nope
I will weigh in the VMs blonde people, architecture (it points to Italy and
western/central Europe); the similarities with other 14th/15th century
European herbals; the fact that the Limbourg brothers drew their fish
during the time period when the the VMs vellum was produced. So, it
seems to me that it is a bit more likely that the VMs artist had seen Très
Riches Heures du Duc de Berry than the Alligator gar. The artist also
may have seen both or neither - the VMs fish may coincidentally remind
us of the alligator gar or the de Berry manuscript.
In the blog-sphere we can speculate all we want, but we expect the
scientists to at least pretend they made some effort to disprove their
hypothesis before publishing it as 'most definite' (in this case explaining why similar European fish species should not be considered as probable).