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Dinosaurs in Myths
by: Veronica S., Grade: 6+


Dinosaurs big and small have fueled imagination throughout history. Ancient finds inspired many myths and legends still told today. Every year people’s perceptions of dinosaurs change. With new scientific studies and discoveries, it would be hard for perceptions not to.

The griffin is an example of a myth based on dinosaurs. This myth originated in the Gobi desert where many Protoceratops’ skeletons have been found. There are many physical similarities between griffins and protoceratops, which is why Adrienne Mayor hypothesized in 2000 that that was how ancient people came up with the idea of a griffin. For example protoceratops had a beak and four legs just like a griffin. The fragile, fossilized frill of the Protoceratops is often found broken. Early people may have thought these fragments were the ears of the griffin. The extended shoulder blades of little protoceratops may have looked like an attachment spot for griffin wings. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History provided a hands-on activity using replicas of Protoceratops’ bones. Visitors were given instructions on how to arrange the bones to look like a Protoceratops or to look like a griffin.

Huge advancements in dinosaur discovery happened during the “Bone Wars”. Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh battled to find the most dinosaurs in the late 19th century. At first Edward and Othniel were good friends and named many dinosaurs after each other but later turned out to be enemies due to their completive natures, different beliefs and backgrounds. News and media covered a lot of their findings, and the public began to get a modern idea of dinosaurs. Dinosaurs would start to inspire the public, coming alive again in movies, televisions, art and book series.

Everyone knows Flintstones and their lovable crane dino, based on the Brontosaurus. Yet what you might not know is that brontosaurus is not a dinosaur. Although it became a public favorite, its original reproduction was a mistake. It was an Apatosaurus completed with a Camarasaurus head. Othniel Charles Marsh found the Apatosaurus first. Two years later he found a larger dinosaur and named it Brontosaurus. Most paleontologists believe that the original Apatosaurus was just a juvenile of the Brontosaurus. Therefore the original name takes precedence. Yet, there is still hope for Brontosaurus. Some paleontologists believe that the bones of the Brontosaurus are different enough to really be a different species.

Dinosaurs have proven to be inspiring and interesting. Dinosaurs offer a gateway into science for young kids, and facts are always changing to keep them interested. People used to think of dinosaurs as cold blooded monsters with scales. Current theories include concepts of warm blooded dinosaurs and dinosaurs with feathers. Many theories have been proven and disproven, but even refuted hypothesizes live on in our imaginations.



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