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Folklore of Dinosaur Trackways in China



From: Ben Creisler
bscreisler@yahoo.com
 
Many thanks to Xing Lida for bringing this new paper to my attention. The pdf 
can be downloaded for free from:
http://www.xinglida.net/list20052009.htm
 
 
Lida Xing, Adrienne Mayor, Yu Chen, Jerald D. Harris & Michael E. Burns (2011)
The Folklore of Dinosaur Trackways in China: Impact on Paleontology.
Ichnos 18(4):  213-220
DOI:10.1080/10420940.2011.634038
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10420940.2011.634038
 
 
Abstract
Fossilized footprints made by extinct creatures have captured the attention of 
humans worldwide. Many different prescientific cultures have attempted to 
identify the trackmakers and account for the tracks of unfamiliar species. In 
China, local folklore about dinosaur footprints is preserved in oral traditions 
of great antiquity, which persist today in at least five regions with 
conspicuous tracksites. Although folk explanations are expressed in 
mythological terms, they are based on careful observation over many 
generations. Ichnological myths often contain details that reveal attention to 
size, morphology, and sedimentology of tracks. Chinese folklore identified 
dinosaur tracks as those of divine or fantastic birds of various sizes, 
legendary large mammals, sacred plants, and deities or heroes. Popular 
knowledge of dinosaur tracksites and myth-based descriptions of mysterious 
footprints in stone could serve as a guide for paleontologists in East Asia,
 leading them to identify new trackways previously unknown to science.