The article is a detailed examination of practices originating in technology and art that were used as heuristically fertile models in Leibniz's Protogaea (1749) to explain the processes of fossilization and demonstrate the animal origin of fossils. Particular importance is given to engravings on copper, which, besides being the technique used to execute the plates in the Protogaea, also became an analogical model for the interpretation of fish fossils. These aspects of the Protogaea are contextualised within the broader framework of the interaction between artisanal and theoretical modes of knowledge in the Scientific Revolution and the still little-known historical development of this interaction in the field of paleontology.

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