Timeline Story

Dragons: Early Dinosaur Fossils

Dragons: Early Dinosaur Fossils

From Year 0 (BCE/CE): -1600
Post Date: 06/14/0000

Fossil discoveries have brought wonder to humanity from the very beginning. The discovery of fossils from prehistoric animals like sauropods and mammoths inspired ancient people to create stories about massive, powerful creatures. Dragon-like and other creatures appear in myths across the world from our earliest writings.

For example, in China, the discovery of fossils from giant prehistoric animals like mammoths and sauropods dates back to the Shang Dynasty (around 1600-1046 BCE). These finds likely influenced the development of dragon legends, which were present in Chinese culture by the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE). As early as the 4th century BCE, Chinese scholars documented the discovery of “dragon bones.” These bones, often large and unexplained, were likely dinosaur fossils. The Chinese ground them into powder for use in traditional medicine, believing them to possess healing properties.

Greco-Roman authors, such as Herodotus and Pliny the Elder, mentioned large bones being discovered and attributed them to mythical creatures or ancient giants. While early thinkers like Xenophanes of Colophon recognized some fossils as remnants of once-living creatures as early as 600 BCE, it wouldn’t be until the 1600s that humanity would start to accept this empirical evidence as once living creatures.

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