Dinosaurs, those lizard-kings that roamed the earth for over 200 million years, left mankind with a great puzzle to solve. Now, when mankind is faced with something new that is puzzling, we seem to conjure any and all possible and probable scenarios related to the new finds. The very first of many myths about dinosaurs was that the bones that were being unearthed belonged to a super-sized race of humans, possibly related to Goliath from the Catholic Bible, and other stories passed down through generations. The first real dinosaur bone unearthed and published was a thigh bone from a Megalosaur, but it was first thought to be a calcified hip bone from a really big man.
As time went by, and more and more different species and sub-species of dinosaurs were unearthed, stumbled over or seen trapped in the ice, many were misclassified as mammalian creatures from the depths of the Oceans and some rather big and deep lakes, like Loch Ness and Great Slave Lake. Which brings us to another of the popular myths about dinosaurs; that dinosaurs could not swim. Of course they could swim, or at least some of them could, as they were just really big lizards, and lizards are pretty adept in the water.
There are most likely more myths about dinosaurs than there are fact about or types of dinosaurs. The biggest myth of them all is that mankind walked around, hunting these beasts and being hunted by them. There are myths that we wore dinosaur fur, used their bones for weapons and tools, and had pet dinosaurs. The problem with these myths is that dinosaurs became extinct somewhere around 64 million years before the earliest human fossils found. Did cavemen travel alongside the terrible lizards? Did Cro-Magnon man? All we can say is that there are some pretty cool drawings inside caves that make it look like they were.
What killed the dinosaurs is a major draw for many myths, from a meteor hitting the earth, with the impact and after-effects wiping out the dinosaurs, to other mammals eating the dinosaur’s eggs, slowly decimating their numbers over millions of years. Of course, there are myths that alien races came and took all the dinosaurs away, to be used as either food, hunting fodder, or theme-park rides. Alpha Centauri’s newest fad; dinosaur wrangling!
Okay, so most myths are somewhat based in truths. Did dragons exist? Or, were the bones of flying dinosaurs, like the Pterodactyl, excitedly mistaken for dragons? The Chinese were pretty sure of the dragon’s existed, as they made them a great part of their early culture. Even Bruce Lee fought in the Way of the Dragon, mimicking the flying lizards fighting tactics. Myth or reality, the existence of dragons may just be fact, but named incorrectly.
Were dinosaurs warm-blooded? Were they slow and lazy or fast and nimble? Did they mate just once or take a wife for life? The answers, to both sides of each question, are all myths, as they have not and can not be proven without a shadow of a doubt. Unless, of course, a few complete dinosaur bodies are found encased and perfectly preserved in ice, with their internal organs, specifically the stomach, heart and lungs, frozen and not calcified. And of course the plants and animals, insects and mammals that lived amongst them would have to be likewise frozen in time and perfectly preserved, otherwise the best we can do is make educated guesses.
But isn’t that what makes dinosaurs so romantic, that we do not know the answers to these questions? Otherwise, there would be no myths, only facts. And myths make for much better stories.