The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times (New in Paper) by Adrienne Mayor
Griffins, Cyclopes, Monsters, and Giantsthese fabulous creatures of classical mythology continue to live in the modern imagination through the vivid accounts that have come down to us from the ancient Greeks and Romans. But what if these beings were more than merely fictions? What if monstrous creatures once roamed the earth in the very places where their legends first arose? This is the arresting and original thesis that Adrienne Mayor explores in The First Fossil Hunters. Through careful research and meticulous documentation, she convincingly shows that many of the giants and monsters of myth did have a basis in factin the enormous bones of long-extinct species that were once abundant in the lands of the Greeks and Romans.
As Mayor shows, the Greeks and Romans were well aware that a different breed of creatures once inhabited their lands. They frequently encountered the fossilized bones of these primeval beings, and they developed sophisticated concepts to explain the fossil evidence, concepts that were expressed in mythological stories. The legend of the gold-guarding griffin, for example, sprang from tales first told by Scythian gold-miners, who, passing through the Gobi Desert at the foot of the Altai Mountains, encountered the skeletons of Protoceratops and other dinosaurs that littered the ground.
Like their modern counterparts, the ancient fossil hunters collected and measured impressive petrified remains and displayed them in temples and museums; they attempted to reconstruct the appearance of these prehistoric creatures and to explain their extinction. Long thought to be fantasy, the remarkably detailed and perceptive Greek and Roman accounts of giant bone finds were actually based on solid paleontological facts. By reading these neglected narratives for the first time in the light of modern scientific discoveries, Adrienne Mayor illuminates a lost world of ancient paleontology.
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.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations ix
Introduction to the 2011 Edition xiii
Geological Time Scale 2
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
Volume 10 of Princeton Oriental Texts.Originally published in 1943.The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest
print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these ...
Dinosaurs: A Visual Encyclopedia will spark the curiosity of young readers, taking them to a
time where Tyrannosaurus rex ruled the land, pterodactyls flew in the skies, and packs of velociraptors prowled the jungles. Filled with up-to-date discoveries about prehistoric ...
This textbook is a high school, semester study of the differences between the Biblcal and
secular views of fossils, dinosaurs, and cave men. Topics include the cause and mechanism for a global flood, the geologic time table, living fossils, the ...
In recent years, the topic of ancient Greek hero cult has been the focus of
considerable discussion among classicists. Little attention, however, has been paid to female heroized figures. Here Deborah Lyons argues for the heroine as a distinct category ...
Fidèle à l'imaginaire mythologique, on a longtemps prêté aux Amazones des coutumes étranges, occultant ainsi
l'idée d'Hérodote qu'il existait des tribus où guerrières et guerriers étaient égaux. À l'origine du mythe, des tribus nomades scythes qui ...
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are
now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
Cultural critic Fredric Jameson, renowned for his incisive studies of the passage of modernism to
postmodernism, returns to the movement that dramatically broke with all tradition in search of progress for the first time since his acclaimed A Singular Modernity ...
These are the adventures of 14-year old Kyle, his 12-year-old sister Teresa, and her friend
Sonja, a beautiful Indian girl. Their fathers designed and built a time capsule unlike anything ever seen before. The children accidentally enter the machine and ...