THE FIRST FOSSIL HUNTERS DINOSAURS MAMMOTHS AND MYTH IN GREEK AND ROMAN TIMES

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The First Fossil Hunters

Author : Adrienne Mayor
ISBN : 9781400838448
Genre : History
File Size : 29.4 MB
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Griffins, Cyclopes, Monsters, and Giants--these fabulous creatures of classical mythology continue to live in the modern imagination through the vivid accounts that have come down to us from the ancient Greeks and Romans. But what if these beings were more than merely fictions? What if monstrous creatures once roamed the earth in the very places where their legends first arose? This is the arresting and original thesis that Adrienne Mayor explores in The First Fossil Hunters. Through careful research and meticulous documentation, she convincingly shows that many of the giants and monsters of myth did have a basis in fact--in the enormous bones of long-extinct species that were once abundant in the lands of the Greeks and Romans. As Mayor shows, the Greeks and Romans were well aware that a different breed of creatures once inhabited their lands. They frequently encountered the fossilized bones of these primeval beings, and they developed sophisticated concepts to explain the fossil evidence, concepts that were expressed in mythological stories. The legend of the gold-guarding griffin, for example, sprang from tales first told by Scythian gold-miners, who, passing through the Gobi Desert at the foot of the Altai Mountains, encountered the skeletons of Protoceratops and other dinosaurs that littered the ground. Like their modern counterparts, the ancient fossil hunters collected and measured impressive petrified remains and displayed them in temples and museums; they attempted to reconstruct the appearance of these prehistoric creatures and to explain their extinction. Long thought to be fantasy, the remarkably detailed and perceptive Greek and Roman accounts of giant bone finds were actually based on solid paleontological facts. By reading these neglected narratives for the first time in the light of modern scientific discoveries, Adrienne Mayor illuminates a lost world of ancient paleontology.
Category: History

Fossil Legends Of The First Americans

Author : Adrienne Mayor
ISBN : 9781400849314
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 88.92 MB
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The burnt-red badlands of Montana's Hell Creek are a vast graveyard of the Cretaceous dinosaurs that lived 68 million years ago. Those hills were, much later, also home to the Sioux, the Crows, and the Blackfeet, the first people to encounter the dinosaur fossils exposed by the elements. What did Native Americans make of these stone skeletons, and how did they explain the teeth and claws of gargantuan animals no one had seen alive? Did they speculate about their deaths? Did they collect fossils? Beginning in the East, with its Ice Age monsters, and ending in the West, where dinosaurs lived and died, this richly illustrated and elegantly written book examines the discoveries of enormous bones and uses of fossils for medicine, hunting magic, and spells. Well before Columbus, Native Americans observed the mysterious petrified remains of extinct creatures and sought to understand their transformation to stone. In perceptive creation stories, they visualized the remains of extinct mammoths, dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and marine creatures as Monster Bears, Giant Lizards, Thunder Birds, and Water Monsters. Their insights, some so sophisticated that they anticipate modern scientific theories, were passed down in oral histories over many centuries. Drawing on historical sources, archaeology, traditional accounts, and extensive personal interviews, Adrienne Mayor takes us from Aztec and Inca fossil tales to the traditions of the Iroquois, Navajos, Apaches, Cheyennes, and Pawnees. Fossil Legends of the First Americans represents a major step forward in our understanding of how humans made sense of fossils before evolutionary theory developed.
Category: Social Science

The Science Of Monsters

Author : Matt Kaplan
ISBN : 9781451667998
Genre : Science
File Size : 47.53 MB
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"Previously published as Medusa's gaze and vampire's bite by Scribner"--Title page verso.
Category: Science

The Amazons

Author : Adrienne Mayor
ISBN : 9781400865130
Genre : History
File Size : 44.70 MB
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Amazons—fierce warrior women dwelling on the fringes of the known world—were the mythic archenemies of the ancient Greeks. Heracles and Achilles displayed their valor in duels with Amazon queens, and the Athenians reveled in their victory over a powerful Amazon army. In historical times, Cyrus of Persia, Alexander the Great, and the Roman general Pompey tangled with Amazons. But just who were these bold barbarian archers on horseback who gloried in fighting, hunting, and sexual freedom? Were Amazons real? In this deeply researched, wide-ranging, and lavishly illustrated book, National Book Award finalist Adrienne Mayor presents the Amazons as they have never been seen before. This is the first comprehensive account of warrior women in myth and history across the ancient world, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Great Wall of China. Mayor tells how amazing new archaeological discoveries of battle-scarred female skeletons buried with their weapons prove that women warriors were not merely figments of the Greek imagination. Combining classical myth and art, nomad traditions, and scientific archaeology, she reveals intimate, surprising details and original insights about the lives and legends of the women known as Amazons. Provocatively arguing that a timeless search for a balance between the sexes explains the allure of the Amazons, Mayor reminds us that there were as many Amazon love stories as there were war stories. The Greeks were not the only people enchanted by Amazons—Mayor shows that warlike women of nomadic cultures inspired exciting tales in ancient Egypt, Persia, India, Central Asia, and China. Driven by a detective's curiosity, Mayor unearths long-buried evidence and sifts fact from fiction to show how flesh-and-blood women of the Eurasian steppes were mythologized as Amazons, the equals of men. The result is likely to become a classic.
Category: History

Greek Fire Poison Arrows And Scorpion Bombs

Author : Adrienne Mayor
ISBN : 9781590203743
Genre : History
File Size : 83.20 MB
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"A comprehensive look at WMD's antecedents, from flamethrowers of the Peloponnesian War to plague-bearing booby traps.... Rich and entertaining." -Newsweek Featuring a new introduction by the author. Flamethrowers, poison gases, incendiary bombs, the large-scale spreading of disease... are these terrifying agents and implements of warfare modern inventions? Not by a long shot. Weapons of biological and chemical warfare have been in use for thousands of years, and Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs, Adrienne Mayor's fascinating exploration of the origins of biological and unethical warfare draws extraordinary connections between the mythical worlds of Hercules and the Trojan War, the accounts of Herodotus and Thucydides, and modern methods of war and terrorism. Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs will catapult readers into the dark and fascinating realm of ancient war and mythic treachery-and their devastating consequences.
Category: History

The Griffin And The Dinosaur

Author : Marc Aronson
ISBN : 1426311095
Genre : Juvenile Nonfiction
File Size : 60.46 MB
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Traces the research scientist co-author's explorations in Greece and the Gobi Desert for the origins of the mythical griffin, relating the story of the ancient Scythians and the griffins that were said to have guarded their treasure.
Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

The Poison King

Author : Adrienne Mayor
ISBN : 9780691150260
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 64.77 MB
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A new account of one of Rome's most relentless but least understood foes. Claiming Alexander the Great and Darius of Persia as ancestors, Mithradates inherited a wealthy Black Sea kingdom at age fourteen after his mother poisoned his father. He fled intoexile and returned in triumph to become a ruler of superb intelligence and fierce ambition. Hailed as a savior by his followers and feared as a second Hannibal by his enemies, he envisioned a grand Eastern empire to rival Rome. After massacring eighty thousand Roman citizens in 88 BC, he seized Greece and modern-day Turkey. Fighting some of the most spectacular battles in ancient history, he dragged Rome into a long round of wars and threatened to invade Italy itself. His uncanny ability to elude captureand surge back after devastating losses unnerved the Romans, while his mastery of poisons allowed him to foil assassination attempts and eliminate rivals.--From publisher description.
Category: Biography & Autobiography

Abominable Science

Author : Daniel Loxton
ISBN : 9780231526814
Genre : Science
File Size : 44.98 MB
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Throughout our history, humans have been captivated by mythic beasts and legendary creatures. Tales of Bigfoot, the Yeti, and the Loch Ness monster are part of our collective experience. Now comes a book from two dedicated investigators that explores and elucidates the fascinating world of cryptozoology. Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero have written an entertaining, educational, and definitive text on cryptids, presenting the arguments both for and against their existence and systematically challenging the pseudoscience that perpetuates their myths. After examining the nature of science and pseudoscience and their relation to cryptozoology, Loxton and Prothero take on Bigfoot; the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, and its cross-cultural incarnations; the Loch Ness monster and its highly publicized sightings; the evolution of the Great Sea Serpent; and Mokele Mbembe, or the Congo dinosaur. They conclude with an analysis of the psychology behind the persistent belief in paranormal phenomena, identifying the major players in cryptozoology, discussing the character of its subculture, and considering the challenge it poses to clear and critical thinking in our increasingly complex world.
Category: Science

Renaissance Fashions

Author : Tom Tierney
ISBN : 0486410382
Genre : Juvenile Nonfiction
File Size : 20.12 MB
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Forty-five finely detailed, ready-to color illustrations depict an Italian peasant couple in wedding dress, children of a German royal family garbed in velvet, an English lord and lady in riding outfits, and more.
Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

Discovering The Mammoth A Tale Of Giants Unicorns Ivory And The Birth Of A New Science

Author : John J. McKay
ISBN : 9781681774817
Genre : Nature
File Size : 67.51 MB
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The fascinating saga of solving the mystery of this ancient animal who once roamed the north country—and has captivated our collective imagination ever since. Today, we know that a mammoth is an extinct type of elephant that was covered with long fur and lived in the north country during the ice ages. But how do you figure out what a mammoth is if you have no concept of extinction, ice ages, or fossils? Long after the last mammoth died and was no longer part of the human diet, it still played a role in human life. Cultures around the world interpreted the remains of mammoths through the lens of their own worldview and mythology. When the ancient Greeks saw deposits of giant fossils, they knew they had discovered the battle fields where the gods had vanquished the Titans. When the Chinese discovered buried ivory, they knew they had found dragons’ teeth. But as the Age of Reason dawned, monsters and giants gave way to the scientific method. Yet the mystery of these mighty bones remained. How did Enlightenment thinkers overcome centuries of myth and misunderstanding to reconstruct an unknown animal? The journey to unravel that puzzle begins in the 1690s with the arrival of new type of ivory on the European market bearing the exotic name "mammoth." It ends during the Napoleonic Wars with the first recovery of a frozen mammoth. The path to figuring out the mammoth was traveled by merchants, diplomats, missionaries, cranky doctors, collectors of natural wonders, Swedish POWs, Peter the Great, Ben Franklin, the inventor of hot chocolate, and even one pirate. McKay brings together dozens of original documents and illustrations, some ignored for centuries, to show how this odd assortment of characters solved the mystery of the mammoth and, in doing so, created the science of paleontology.
Category: Nature