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RE: Krakenology

  Whale, as derived from "hwæl" (old English) eventially derived from the 
Nordic hvalr (and as combined with hvalfiskr) lit. "large fish." One might say 
that "whale" thus meant "large" as deriving for any animal in the ocean.  But 
that's just THAT word.  Translating the concept from its origin derives us to 
various Mediterranean concept, one of which is the _squalus_ and was used for 
anything from snake-like to shark-like animals, and probably smaller whales.  
It seems fairly easy to assume that the Greek Ketos was conceived from a whale 
as seen from the Atlantic or entering the Med, very large, serpentine-seeming 
from the surface (elongate, sinuous, with a large mouth).  How hard then would 
it be to derive a broadly-concepted thing such as the Judaic "fish" (in the 
Hebraic portion of this story, "dag") that swallowed Jonah as a great and 
monstrous fish ... or whale?  In case this hasn't been pointed out before, many 
legends of weird creatures are based at some level on a nugget of truth, even 
if the idea is ludicrous, such as conceiving of various aquatic "monsters" from 
tales of seafarers witnessing narwhals, whales, dugongs, without ever bringing 
it out or studying it in any scientific concept (ignoring that first nation 
peoples of North America and northern Eurasia regularly hunted and slew these 
animals, but their traditions being oral give us little comparison with written 
texts such as the Bible or the Eddas).


Jaime A. Headden

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn
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"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
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his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion 

> Date: Mon, 8 Mar 2010 09:18:08 +0100
> From: david.marjanovic@gmx.at
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Krakenology
>> Even into the Christian era, illustrations of Jonah being swallowed
>> by a whale typically feature a long-bodied, serpentine sea creature.
> And it doesn't even say "whale" in the Bible, it just says "fish"...
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