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

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
$11.15
(Save 41%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $9.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 52%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (21) from $9.00   
  • New (12) from $10.98   
  • Used (9) from $9.00   

Overview

"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

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Adrienne Mayor has . . . done some digging deep into the past and found literary and artistic clues—and not a few huge fossils—that seem to explain the inspiration for many of the giants, monsters, and other strange creatures in the mythology of antiquity.
— John Noble Wilford
London Review of Books
[Mayor] has done an admirable job . . . [she] easily persuades us that these early writers indeed recorded a palaeontological bonanza centuries before the first dinosaur remains were recognised by modern science.
— Richard Fortey
Natural History
Mayor presents her case with an engaging zeal, describing her sleuthing efforts at length . . . By the end of the book, you will find yourself filled with enthusiasm for following Mayor's lead in breaking down interdisciplinary boundaries and thus enriching your understanding of the human experience.
— Kate A. Robson Brown
Science
A historical and scientific detective story of first rank. . . . Her results are as striking as they are entertaining. . . . The book will engage specialists with its serious purpose and extensive documentation and will please all readers with its profusion of maps, photographs, and drawings.
— Mott T. Greene
American Scientist
The First Fossil Hunters brings together mythology, art, geology, and paleontology in a convincing manner. . . . Mayor's chronicles do more that entertain; as she contends, they also show that people of Greek and Roman times had a broad understanding of fossils as organic remains of extinct organisms . . .
— Tim Tokary
Newsday
Merging the fields of paleontology, archaeology and classical literature, Mayor's research has uncovered striking correlations between modern fossil finds and many of the myths and folklore that sprang up in early Western civilization.
— Bryn Nelson
Booklist
Mayor [combines] the skills of the literary scholar with those of a dinosaur hunter . . . [A]lthough readers will learn a good deal here about the remains of mammoths and protoceratops, they will learn much more about human imagination, that fertile source of science, of legend and of fraud.
Times Literary Supplement
Mayor tells a fascinating story of ancient encounters with fossils, setting modern palaeontology beside ancient art and literature . . .
— Helen King
Times Higher Education Supplement
In many ways, this book resembles a detective story. When the author gets on the track of something, she follows it wherever it leads. . . . The First Fossil Hunters will be a revelation to anyone interested in ancient history. For me, it is one of the best books of recent years.
— Walter Friedrich
NationalJournal.com
While the book is aimed at academics and presumes knowledge of contemporary debates on the power of the presidency, it is not too abstruse for the current-events minded reader. . . . And if you're a journalist or author researching the office of the presidency, it's essential.
— Lauren Mandell
Rock and Gem
After reading Mayor's The First Fossil Hunters one thing is certain. You'll never look at classical mythology—or at the history of paleontology—the same way again.
— Steve Voynick
Geological Magazine
In her introduction Adrienne Mayor takes palaeontologists and historians of palaeontology to task. At best there has been accidental ignorance and at worst wilful avoidance and misrepresentation of how much the Greeks and Romans knew about fossils . . . Mayor proceeds to make her case with detailed 'chapter and verse' from the ancients. It is indeed impressive and generally very convincing
— Douglas Palmer
American Journal of Archaeology
This book is a pleasure to read. . . . The insight into human behavior is enough to attract anthropologists and laypeople to read this fascinating account of paleontology in ancient times.
— Deborah Ruscillo
Isis
Adrienne Mayor's thought-provoking book will mark a watershed in the approach to griffins and giants. . . For both its innovative method and its results, this well-balanced and vividly written book belongs on the bookshelf of every historian of natural sciences.
— Liliane Bodson
Archaeology
Marshaling the array of evidence available from scholarly and popular works, and contributing her own research, Mayor shows that far from ignoring fossils, many Native American groups took great notice of them and developed elaborate myths to explain their origin. . . . Though Mayor is careful not to homogenize native myths, she does note that virtually all of them exhibit a sense of "deep time," as geologists call it: an awareness that the world has existed for far longer than humans have walked it.
— Eric A. Powell
The New York Times - John Noble Wilford
Adrienne Mayor has . . . done some digging deep into the past and found literary and artistic clues—and not a few huge fossils—that seem to explain the inspiration for many of the giants, monsters, and other strange creatures in the mythology of antiquity.
London Review of Books - Richard Fortey
[Mayor] has done an admirable job . . . [she] easily persuades us that these early writers indeed recorded a palaeontological bonanza centuries before the first dinosaur remains were recognised by modern science.
Natural History - Kate A. Robson Brown
Mayor presents her case with an engaging zeal, describing her sleuthing efforts at length . . . By the end of the book, you will find yourself filled with enthusiasm for following Mayor's lead in breaking down interdisciplinary boundaries and thus enriching your understanding of the human experience.
Science - Mott T. Greene
A historical and scientific detective story of first rank. . . . Her results are as striking as they are entertaining. . . . The book will engage specialists with its serious purpose and extensive documentation and will please all readers with its profusion of maps, photographs, and drawings.
American Scientist - Tim Tokaryk
The First Fossil Hunters brings together mythology, art geology and paleontology in a convincing matter. . . . In times long past, others had the same fascination we do today with the sight, feel and sense of something once living and now extinct.
Newsday - Bryn Nelson
Merging the fields of paleontology, archaeology and classical literature, Mayor's research has uncovered striking correlations between modern fossil finds and many of the myths and folklore that sprang up in early Western civilization.
American Scientist - Tim Tokary
The First Fossil Hunters brings together mythology, art, geology, and paleontology in a convincing manner. . . . Mayor's chronicles do more that entertain; as she contends, they also show that people of Greek and Roman times had a broad understanding of fossils as organic remains of extinct organisms . . .
Times Literary Supplement - Helen King
Mayor tells a fascinating story of ancient encounters with fossils, setting modern palaeontology beside ancient art and literature . . .
Times Higher Education Supplement - Walter Friedrich
In many ways, this book resembles a detective story. When the author gets on the track of something, she follows it wherever it leads. . . . The First Fossil Hunters will be a revelation to anyone interested in ancient history. For me, it is one of the best books of recent years.
NationalJournal.com - Lauren Mandell
While the book is aimed at academics and presumes knowledge of contemporary debates on the power of the presidency, it is not too abstruse for the current-events minded reader. . . . And if you're a journalist or author researching the office of the presidency, it's essential.
Rock and Gem - Steve Voynick
After reading Mayor's The First Fossil Hunters one thing is certain. You'll never look at classical mythology—or at the history of paleontology—the same way again.
Geological Magazine - Douglas Palmer
In her introduction Adrienne Mayor takes palaeontologists and historians of palaeontology to task. At best there has been accidental ignorance and at worst wilful avoidance and misrepresentation of how much the Greeks and Romans knew about fossils . . . Mayor proceeds to make her case with detailed 'chapter and verse' from the ancients. It is indeed impressive and generally very convincing
American Journal of Archaeology - Deborah Ruscillo
This book is a pleasure to read. . . . The insight into human behavior is enough to attract anthropologists and laypeople to read this fascinating account of paleontology in ancient times.
Isis - Liliane Bodson
Adrienne Mayor's thought-provoking book will mark a watershed in the approach to griffins and giants. . . For both its innovative method and its results, this well-balanced and vividly written book belongs on the bookshelf of every historian of natural sciences.
Archaeology - Eric A. Powell
Marshaling the array of evidence available from scholarly and popular works, and contributing her own research, Mayor shows that far from ignoring fossils, many Native American groups took great notice of them and developed elaborate myths to explain their origin. . . . Though Mayor is careful not to homogenize native myths, she does note that virtually all of them exhibit a sense of "deep time," as geologists call it: an awareness that the world has existed for far longer than humans have walked it.
Fortean Times - Matt Salusbury
Classical Corner fans will love the extensive 'Ancient Testimonia' appendix, with quotations on obvious fossil finds from numerous Greek and Roman sources—some so undeservedly obscure that these are their first English translations.
From the Publisher
"Adrienne Mayor has . . . done some digging deep into the past and found literary and artistic clues—and not a few huge fossils—that seem to explain the inspiration for many of the giants, monsters, and other strange creatures in the mythology of antiquity."—John Noble Wilford, The New York Times

"[Mayor] has done an admirable job . . . [she] easily persuades us that these early writers indeed recorded a palaeontological bonanza centuries before the first dinosaur remains were recognised by modern science."—Richard Fortey, London Review of Books

"Refreshing. . . . Mayor presents her case with an engaging zeal. . . . By the end of the book, you will find yourself filled with enthusiasm for following Mayor's lead in breaking down interdisciplinary boundaries and thus enriching your understanding of the human experience."—Kate A. Robson Brown, Natural History

"A historical and scientific detective story of first rank. . . . Her results are as striking as they are entertaining. . . . The book will engage specialists with its serious purpose and extensive documentation and will please all readers with its profusion of maps, photographs, and drawings."—Mott T. Greene, Science

"The First Fossil Hunters brings together mythology, art geology and paleontology in a convincing matter. . . . In times long past, others had the same fascination we do today with the sight, feel and sense of something once living and now extinct."—Tim Tokaryk, American Scientist

"Merging the fields of paleontology, archaeology and classical literature, Mayor's research has uncovered striking correlations between modern fossil finds and many of the myths and folklore that sprang up in early Western civilization."—Bryn Nelson, Newsday

"Mayor [combines] the skills of the literary scholar with those of a dinosaur hunter . . . [A]lthough readers will learn a good deal here about the remains of mammoths and protoceratops, they will learn much more about human imagination, that fertile source of science, of legend and of fraud."—Booklist

"A surprising account of material overlooked or misunderstood by both historians of science and interpreters of Greek myth . . . [T]his is clear, readable, and convincing."—Kirkus Reviews

"Mayor presents her case with an engaging zeal, describing her sleuthing efforts at length . . . By the end of the book, you will find yourself filled with enthusiasm for following Mayor's lead in breaking down interdisciplinary boundaries and thus enriching your understanding of the human experience."—Kate A. Robson Brown, Natural History

"The First Fossil Hunters brings together mythology, art, geology, and paleontology in a convincing manner. . . . Mayor's chronicles do more that entertain; as she contends, they also show that people of Greek and Roman times had a broad understanding of fossils as organic remains of extinct organisms . . ."—Tim Tokary, American Scientist
"Mayor tells a fascinating story of ancient encounters with fossils, setting modern palaeontology beside ancient art and literature . . ."—Helen King, Times Literary Supplement

"In many ways, this book resembles a detective story. When the author gets on the track of something, she follows it wherever it leads. . . . The First Fossil Hunters will be a revelation to anyone interested in ancient history. For me, it is one of the best books of recent years."—Walter Friedrich, Times Higher Education Supplement

"While the book is aimed at academics and presumes knowledge of contemporary debates on the power of the presidency, it is not too abstruse for the current-events minded reader. . . . And if you're a journalist or author researching the office of the presidency, it's essential."—Lauren Mandell, NationalJournal.com

"After reading Mayor's The First Fossil Hunters one thing is certain. You'll never look at classical mythology—or at the history of paleontology—the same way again."—Steve Voynick, Rock and Gem

"In her introduction Adrienne Mayor takes palaeontologists and historians of palaeontology to task. At best there has been accidental ignorance and at worst wilful avoidance and misrepresentation of how much the Greeks and Romans knew about fossils . . . Mayor proceeds to make her case with detailed 'chapter and verse' from the ancients. It is indeed impressive and generally very convincing"—Douglas Palmer, Geological Magazine

"This book is a pleasure to read. . . . The insight into human behavior is enough to attract anthropologists and laypeople to read this fascinating account of paleontology in ancient times."—Deborah Ruscillo, American Journal of Archaeology

"Adrienne Mayor's thought-provoking book will mark a watershed in the approach to griffins and giants. . . For both its innovative method and its results, this well-balanced and vividly written book belongs on the bookshelf of every historian of natural sciences."—Liliane Bodson, Isis

"Marshaling the array of evidence available from scholarly and popular works, and contributing her own research, Mayor shows that far from ignoring fossils, many Native American groups took great notice of them and developed elaborate myths to explain their origin. . . . Though Mayor is careful not to homogenize native myths, she does note that virtually all of them exhibit a sense of "deep time," as geologists call it: an awareness that the world has existed for far longer than humans have walked it."—Eric A. Powell, Archaeology

"Classical Corner fans will love the extensive 'Ancient Testimonia' appendix, with quotations on obvious fossil finds from numerous Greek and Roman sources—some so undeservedly obscure that these are their first English translations."—Matt Salusbury, Fortean Times

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691150130
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 3/27/2011
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 366,569
  • Product dimensions: 9.02 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Adrienne Mayor is the author of "Fossil Legends of the First Americans"; "Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs"; and "The Poison King", which was a finalist for a National Book Award in 2009. She is a research scholar in classics and history of science at Stanford University.

Read More Show Less

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

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)