Dragons and Dinosaurs

One of the presuppositions of Antediluvian is that every animal known from natural history – fossil record or otherwise – was also, at some point, known to humans. If true, obviously those names would have differed from those used today – after all, “dinosaur” wasn’t coined until the 1840s. For me, one of the most interesting bits in my book was speculating on possible identities of mythological creatures. Little of this is purely original to me (for example, search “dinosaurs and dragons” and see how many hits you get), but it’s definitely fun (for me, at least!) to think about. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting about a few examples, so check back in and I’ll try to be timely.

Much has been written about dragons and dinosaurs: how “dinosaur” wasn’t a word until Sir Richard Owen coined it in 1841, so if man knew of them, it would have been by a different name; how “dragons” are mentioned in ubiquitous fashion throughout history, everywhere in the world; how the dragon is cycled through the Chinese zodiac along with mythical creatures like the “horse” and the “rabbit.” All I will add here: if you’re a knight in the dark ages, and you had the intestinal fortitude and crazy fighting skills to face and kill a T-rex or spinosaurus, I have zero problem calling you a dragon-slayer.


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