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Re: Dinos and Mythology

An interesting question indeed!  One thing that should be kept in mind, though, 
is that the accounts of extant reptilian taxa from 12th to 15th century 
bestiaries are also regularly "fantastic" in nature - the upshot being that the 
wide variety of legendary reptiles could just as easily be generated by human 
fear/awe of snakes etc. than of extinct forms.  Of course, there is also the 
distinct possibility that both worked in conjunction (i.e. fear of snakes 
combined with discovery of giant "snake-like" fossil neck = huge scary snake 


--Mike H.

On Oct 20, 2011, at 11:20 AM, David Krentz wrote:

>  There are many creatures throughout the various traditions of mythology that 
> are 'reptilian' in nature.  Dragons, Basilisks, Wyverns , Tarasques, Ki-rin, 
> etc. Also, various sea creatures like Leviathan and Jormungandr etc also 
> seems to be built on the reptilian model.  I know there have been some 
> attempts to link mythological creatures to fossil evidence -like the Griffon 
> and Cyclops- but is it entirely reasonable to assume that some of these 
> creatures were 'inspired' by dinosaur bones?  One can only imagine what an 
> ancient chinese farmer would think of a giant sauropod neck within close 
> proximity of a theropod skull.
>   D

Michael Habib
Assistant Professor of Biology
Chatham University
Woodland Road, Pittsburgh PA  15232
Buhl Hall, Room 226A
(443) 280-0181