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The Maya knew about fossils

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  • It seems the ancient Mayans' origin of life story has far more basis in reality than those of *some*.




  • Neolithic man collected fossils as trinkets/unusual objects. Neandertals may have done the same, though the evidence is sparse though interesting.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • The ancient/classical Greeks were also avid fossil collectors, seeing the bones of extinct creatures as those of the monsters and heroes from their legends.




  • Galvasean wrote: »
    The ancient/classical Greeks were also avid fossil collectors, seeing the bones of extinct creatures as those of the monsters and heroes from their legends.

    So were the ancient Chinese with their "dragon bones". What makes the maya case interesting though is that they actually interpreted them as being remains of marine creatures that lived in a remote time before humans existed!




  • I recall watching a documentary about one particular group of native Americans (I forget their name) that identified ichthyosaur remains as being from an ancient race of 'thunder fish' or some such which lived ages ago and were wiped out by some sort of cataclysm.
    Apologies for the vagueness.


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  • IIRC some Native American legends explained dino and other extinct large bones as creatures of the gods that ran along the top of rainclouds making the noise of thunder, who then fell to earth when the clouds parted.

    The various Inuit tribes of Siberia explained preserved mammoth bones as a huge mole like creature that died instantly when sunlight hit them.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • Galvasean wrote: »
    I recall watching a documentary about one particular group of native Americans (I forget their name) that identified ichthyosaur remains as being from an ancient race of 'thunder fish' or some such which lived ages ago and were wiped out by some sort of cataclysm.
    Apologies for the vagueness.

    I think I know what you're talking about. They called the sea monsters "unktehila" and said that they lived alongside thunderbirds (!) in ancient times. I remember reading a Nat Geo magazine in which the reporter took an old Native American chief to a museum (the chief had never been out of the reservation I believe) and he quickly identified the mounted mosasaurs and plesiosaurs as "unktehila".


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