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(notquite)PALEONEWS:Archeologists Find Crocodile Is Prototype of (Chinese) Dragon

This is a CNN custom news article.
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access the article online-   -Betty

Archeologists Find Crocodile Is Prototype of Dragon 

ZHENGZHOU (April 28) XINHUA - Chinese archeologists say studies prove
that the crocodile is the prototype of the dragon, a sacred, mythical
animal which has long been a symbol of the Chinese nation. 

Their conclusion was based on research of the earliest image of the
Chinese dragon, which was formed out of clam shells about 6, 400 years
ago. Archeologists unearthed the sculpture in 1987 in an ancient tomb in
the Yangshao relics in Puyang city, Henan Province. 

The experts said that information gleaned from this rare find is
expected to settle the question of the dragon's origin. 

China is known as the "land of the dragon" and the Chinese people regard
themselves as "children of the dragon." For thousands of years, the
dragon was widely worshipped here, and each emperor of ancient China
deified the dragon, then proclaimed himself the "son of the dragon" to
establish his supreme authority. 

But for centuries, no one knew exactly how or where the legend started.
Scholars speculated that the ancient Chinese modeled the dragon after
the boa constrictor or lightning. In the 1930s, noted scholar Wei Juxian
offered the theory that the crocodile was actually the creature honored
by the ancients. 

Wang Dayou, an archeologist who has studied the clam-dragon sculpture
for more than ten years, has found solid evidence in support of Wei's

"The ancient people selected long and pointed clam shells to make up the
dragon's teeth and talons, used round black-white clams for eyes and red
ones for tongues. This indicated that our ancestors created this dragon
based on some pr0totype rather than out of sheer imagination," he said. 


Flying Goat Graphics
(Society of Vertebrate Paleontology member)