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Re: place names and fossils

* It would be wonderful if some paleontologists and linguists/ folklorists would collaborate on an article or a book about Aboriginal fossil legends before it's too late!

* China's rich fossil legends are just waiting for a similar treatment.

* North Africa and subsaharan Africa are other fossiferous locales with rich opportunities for collecting fossil-related traditions.

* South America too--there must be local lore in Patagonia (Darwin and Simpson published some hints) and other regions with impressive, noticeable dinosaur fossils and trackways in the southern hemisphere

* Canada's First Nations certainly have numerous oral traditions that relate to fossils.

* I started the ball rolling with "fossil hunters in togas" and Native American fossil legends, but I don't have the knowledge or time to do credit to the above topics. But if I can be of any help in encouraging such projects by members (or students) on the vrtpaleo and dinosaur lists, eg putting people in touch with others, etc, let me know.


On Apr 1, 2007, at 4:29 PM, Nick Pharris wrote:

Quoting David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at>:

Another reason to collect and aim to preserve as much
as possible of these peoples' traditions as still
possible... the Tjapwuring language for example is
sadly extinct, essentially prohibiting to get behind
the original stories of the "mihirung".

Which language? This supposedly comprehensive list http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Australian_Aboriginal_languages doesn't contain it, and (at least) the first page of Google results is about dromornithids. It's not a dialect of the Western Desert language...

I'm asking because speakers of related languages may have related myths.

I checked Google, and the only sites that use the spelling "Tjapwuring" are ones that talk about Mihirungs.

I suspect it's a reference to Jab-wurrung, a dialect of the language known as Wemba-Wemba or Wembawemba. Several language and dialect names in the area (western Victoria) end in -wurrung; I suspect it probably means "speech" or "language".

Nick Pharris
Department of Linguistics
University of Michigan

"Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity."
    --Edwin H. Land