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03 Aug 2014, 12:18 pm

Janissy wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
It always amazing how the real dinosaurs and the dragons of myth superficially resemble each other, and its curious how both seem to tie into some primal thing in the human psyche.

I wonder if this superficial resemblance is based on actual dinosaur bones. Perhaps some were found by ancient peoples and they did a best guess on what the creature would like like.

In ancient times Xenophanes (570-480 BC), Herodotus (484-425 BC), Eratosthenes (276-194 BC), and Strabo (64 BC-24 AD), wrote about fossils of marine organisms indicating that land was once under water. During the Middle Ages, fossils were discussed by the Persian naturalist, Ibn Sina (known as Avicenna in Europe), in The Book of Healing (1027), which proposed a theory of petrifying fluids that Albert of Saxony would elaborate on in the 14th century. The Chinese naturalist Shen Kuo (1031?1095) would propose a theory of climate change based on evidence from petrified bamboo.

It looks like fossil evidence was discovered quite a while ago and people did best guess on what it meant. It's not such a stretch to tie the dragon myths to discovery of fossils/bones. I am pretty impressed by what scientists* of the past were able to deduce from the scanty evidence and not a lot of tools available.

*I know they didn't call themselves scientists but the point of view looks the same.

The ancient Greeks, upon finding the skulls of mammoths, saw the hole for the trunk and immediately took it for an eye socket. Thus the cyclops myth was born.

-Bill, otherwise known as Kraichgauer


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03 Aug 2014, 1:47 pm

TheBicyclingGuitarist wrote:
Birds almost certainly evolved from dinosaurs, but technically dinosaurs do not fly by the definition of what a dinosaur is. So the birds of today are not dinosaurs though they are their descendants. Even pterodactyls are not dinosaurs but are flying reptiles. Similarly ichthyosaurs are not dinosaurs but are marine reptiles. I know when I got bags of toy plastic dinosaurs they often included flying reptiles and marine reptiles that were contemporaries of dinosaurs, but they aren't correctly called dinosaurs even though the label on the toy bag implied that. What's in a name, huh Bill (Shakespeare)?

Those bags of plastic dinosaurs we all used to play with ALSO included demitridon (along with the dinos, pterosaurs, and itchyosaurs,and plesiosaurs).

Those were those big vaguely lizardlike critters with big sails on their backs. Demitridon was not only not a dinosaur, it wasnt even contemporary with the dinosaurs! Atleast those other things were all contemporary with each other and with dinos. Demitridon lived in the Permian (100 million years prior to the dinosaurs) and was closer to us than to the dinosaurs! The sail was a kinda solar panel to power the creature by raising its blood temperature.

Its descendants dispenced with the solar panel and devised internal organs for maintaining high body temperature. These later were creatures called the Therapsids. Often got as big as cows they dominated the planet for about 50 million years. But they got clobbered by the Permian extinction event, and then clobbered again by the rise of the dinosaurs.Latersitll. The only survivors of this linneage were ones highly specialized for minaturization, and for hunting bugs at night ( maintaining high body temperature at a small size at night requires insulation)- hense the invention of fur. So when the dinosaurs rose to dominate the planet the first mammals also appeared- but only as tiny nocternal shrewlike creatures in the underbrush. A little later- a group of carnivorous dinosaurs also became highly specialized for chasing bugs, and for minaturization, and also evolved insulation. This time it was overlappiing reptile scales (feathers) that dig the trick. As an afterthought feathers also turned out to be a good airfoil.

So mammals were originally therapsids (mammal-like reptiles) highly specialized for minaturization. Likewise birds were originally minaturized and insulated versions of T-Rex.


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03 Aug 2014, 1:53 pm

Dragons are just another hybrid beast from Mesopotamia. They liked combining animal and human parts to create mythical opponents for the gods to battle. For some reason a winged serpent had more cultural staying power than scorpion men or winged lions. It may have something to do with the fact that snakes are widespread. Lions and scorpions have tighter ranges.

Plus the bible endorsed dragons in a way. If you read the description of the bible's dragon it reads a bit like Smaug from the hobbit. Tightly knitted scales, immune to weapons, fire breath, etc. That or Godzilla.


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04 Aug 2014, 7:54 am

Misslizard wrote:
:lol: no,but I have the embarrassing memory of boosting a classmates toy.

:D It's never too late for payback. :D