Thursday, October 14, 2010

Here There Be Dragons

BLDGBLOG: Bones of the Gigantomachy:

Mastodon and Human, via Bldg Blog
 In her excellent book The First Fossil Hunters, author Adrienne Mayor explains, in fascinating detail, how Classical myths of giants, dragons, titans, heroes, and other ill-formed monstrous beings often stemmed from a misunderstanding of the fossil record. After all, it was not at all infrequent for people of the time to have 'striking personal experiences with giant skeletons that weathered out of the ground in Asia Minor,' Mayor writes, a place 'where strange and immense skeletons emerge from the sand.' And, with no particular reason to assemble all those gigantic bones into animal forms with which humans had no direct experience, the bones were, instead, simply fashioned together to form titanic heroes. Gods on earth. Monstrous ancestry.
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