Hey! How is everyone this week? I had a whirlwind of a week, but a very good one. My middle daughter had an impromptu wedding, recorded at the city courthouse! It was a wonderful ceremony and reception and we all had a great time.
Speaking of written records, there are ancient documentations of dinosaurs/dragons. Let us take a look at a few:
Even in times of antiquity, there were wildlife biologists, usually referred to as naturalists. And even though they did not have the scientific classification systems we do today, they did, nevertheless, meticulously recorded our natural world.
Marcus Tullius Cicero 106-43 BC wrote about “…the flying serpents that are brought from the Libyan desert by the southwest wind..” In the same text Marcus mentions the ichneumon (also known as an Egyptian Mongoose,), crocodile and the cat. It makes no sense that he would make up a mythical animal in the same text.
Ammianus Marcellius 4th century, writes about the ibis (a wetlands bird extant today) and how it eats the eggs of serpents “…making fewer of those destructive pests.” He goes on to explain how the serpents “produce deadly poisons” and the ibis meets these serpents. Now why would a bird we know exists, attack a mythological creature? Do you know what I think. I think these serpents are extinct dinosaurs, but alive during the 4th century.
Athanasius Kircher 17th century, wrote a book in 1678 which focused on creatures that lived underground and included a chapter on dragons. As a researcher and scholar, he recorded dragon habits, descriptions and dwelling places. He included a number of eye-witness reports, and mentions slain specimens mounted and placed in museums. How could a mythical creature be mounted and placed in a museum? Know what I think? I think these dragons were dinosaurs living during that time period!
Then there are those people more familiar to us – Marco Polo, a 13th century explorer, who in his extensive writings of China included his own description of dragons “…great serpents of such vast size as to strike fear into those who see them, and so hideous that the very account of them must excite the wonder of those to hear it.” Marco goes on to describe the animals in detail.
Alexander III of Macedon’s ([356 –323 BC] also known as Alexander the Great), exploits recorded great serpents in India. Alexander actually gave the order that no one was to harm the serpent and then goes on to explain some of its behavior, habitat, and size. I bet you can guess what I think!
Dragons are featured in the ancient Gilgamesh Epic, a Sumerian story from about 3000 BC. (Kramer, Samuel, History Begins at Sumer, 1959, pp.170-81.) And the Greek historian Herodotus is thought to be referring to fossilized dinosaur skeletons and eggs when he described griffins guarding nests in central Asia. In a 3rd century AD text from China, “Dragon bones” are mentioned and fit the description of dinosaurs bones.
And this one is my favorite; written in the Tombstone Epitaph, April 26, 1890. the title reads; Found in the Desert A Strange Winged Monster Discovered and Killed on the Huachaca Desert. The newspaper article goes on to explain how two rancher came upon what could only be a emaciated pterodactyl. The creature is describe in detail, but unfortunately the ranches shot the animal, killing it. After taking measurements, they cut off one of the wing tips. Fascinating!
So many additional accounts exist. You can find more information on the ones I have mentioned and others. Just check out my references! I wish I could have given you all the details but as you can see, this is already quite long. Next week we will explore dinosaur sightings…like the lock ness monster and others…could they be true?
Until then, God Bless and take care!
Dragons, Legends and Lore of Dinosaurs, 2011, Master Books, pgs 3, 5, and 9.