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Re: Dinos and Mythology
That (simply put and to borrow a phrase) Dragons Are Dinosaurs is an
interesting thought. However, as a person who has studied
paleontology and mythology ever since she could read, I find it runs
into a number of snags.
The big one is this: Take a look at very old art of dragons, statues
and paintings and gargoyles and whatnot. You'll notice a great deal
of them don't appear to take much inspiration from extinct animal
remains at all, and instead often look like (believe it or not) a dog
with fanciful wings. Others look like gigantic snakes. One of my
favorites (I think it's the Tarasque) is essentially a nasty version
of "Avatar"'s Lionturtle. Asian dragons are specifically based off
several different animals; everything from the obvious catfish and
pythons to cows (ears) and rabbits (red eyes).
There is, however, one dragon statue whose face is based directly on
that of a rhinoceros skull found nearby, and sadly, I cannot look up
where it can be found as I gave away the book about it. (facepalm)
I hope it doesn't sound like I'm discouraging this study of yours.
Actually, I am curious as to whether there are more mythical creatures
unquestionably based off fossils.
Inevitable TV Tropes link:
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2011 10:05:33 +0200
I've been collecting materials on this topic for a documentary theme -
the social aspects of paleontology are fascinating.
One source stands above everything else I've been able to scratch
together - unfortunately it's in German:
Fossilien im Volksglauben und im Alltag
Topics cover all the mentioned cases here plus:
the Lindwurm (Plateosaurus,rhinoceros)
the unicorn (goat, narwhale, mammoth)
thunderstones, stone-coins, snake-stones
ammoniten as holy water-stones (japan, england)
cyclops (dwarf elephant, rhinoceros skulls)
Very quick and dirty translations... ping me if you have any specific
On 10/20/2011 17:20, 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.