The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times (New in Paper)

The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times (New in Paper)

by Adrienne Mayor
     
 

"In this wonderful book, Adrienne Mayor successfully convinces us that some of our most treasured mythical creatures really were based on the skeletons of extinct animals. It is the best account ever concerning the real meaning of mythical creatures. And Mayor has succeeded in setting the history of paleontology on its ear: the art of skeletal restoration was

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"In this wonderful book, Adrienne Mayor successfully convinces us that some of our most treasured mythical creatures really were based on the skeletons of extinct animals. It is the best account ever concerning the real meaning of mythical creatures. And Mayor has succeeded in setting the history of paleontology on its ear: the art of skeletal restoration was not invented in the western world."—Jack Horner, Museum of the Rockies, author of Dinosaur Lives

"Adrienne Mayor's sometimes provocative and always fascinating blend of history, mythology, and science offers a uniquely enriched dimension to the quest for fossils."—Michael Novacek, American Museum of Natural History

"The Greeks were not the only peoples of antiquity to exploit the past in the interests of devising myth and history, but they were among the most ingenious about it, and recorded their views. Adrienne Mayor has uncovered a barely noticed source for many of the myths of the Old World, and for the first time has assembled in an orderly way the evidence for early man's discovery of and explanations for fossil remains. This is a skillful blend of science, history and imagination which adds a chapter to the history of man's ingenuity, from Central Asia to Greece, to Egypt. Many texts, sites, and pictures will never seem quite the same again, after this very thorough and very lively scholarly excursion into a disregarded source of myth-making."—John Boardman, Oxford University

"A brilliant book, full of new insights into the myths and past of the ancient Greeks. Earthshakingly important."—Robin Lane Fox, author of Alexander the Great

"An enthralling book. . . . A fascinating account of ancient Greek responses to fossils of extinct mammal species."—David Sedley, author of Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity

"Mayor catches one's attention with her first sentence and doesn't let go until the end . . . In addition to being lively and intelligent, the writing is honest and persuasive. Bringing together classics, archaeology, and paleontology in an original synthesis, Mayor exemplifies in her own research her plea that these fields should profitably confer with one another much more than they do."—William Hansen, Indiana University, Bloomington

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691150130
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
03/27/2011
Edition description:
With a New introduction by the author
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
614,813
Product dimensions:
9.02(w) x 6.14(h) x 0.96(d)

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Introduction to the 2011 Edition xiii

Acknowledgments xxix

Geological Time Scale 2

Introduction 3

Historical Time Line 11

Chapter 1 The Gold-Guarding Griffin: A Paleontological Legend 15

Chapter 2 Earthquakes and Elephants: Prehistoric Remains in Mediterranean Lands 54

Chapter 3 Ancient Discoveries of Giant Bones 104

Chapter 4 Artistic and Archaeological Evidence for Fossil Discoveries 157

Chapter 5 Mythology, Natural Philosophy, and Fossils 192

Chapter 6 Centaur Bones: Paleontological Fictions 228

Appendix 1 Large Vertebrate Fossil Species in the Ancient World 255

Appendix 2 Ancient Testimonia 260

Notes 283

Works Cited 333

Index 351

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