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RE: Dinos and Mythology



> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] 
> On Behalf Of David Krentz
>
>   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.

Keep in mind that comparative anatomy is a relatively new science. So in 
traditional Chinese magic, "dragon bone" is ANY vertebrate
bone found in rock, even if it is an ape jaw or fossil horse teeth or other 
non-reptilian source. And the Klagenfurt Dragon
(http://www.museumofincognita.com/klagenfurtdragon.html) was apparently 
inspired by the skull of a wooly rhino.

So although we (okay, I) may consider dinosaurs as the ultimate fossil group 
relative to the others, this is a distinction that
other cultures did not have. Any big ass bones would do...

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz@umd.edu   Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216                        
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/
Fax: 301-314-9661               

Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars
http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc
Fax: 301-314-9843

Mailing Address:        Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                        Department of Geology
                        Building 237, Room 1117
                        University of Maryland
                        College Park, MD 20742 USA