Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Did You Know... Dragons Are Real?!

Did you know… dragons are real?

If you know anything at all about me, it’s that I once nursed a wounded chupacabra back to health, only to have it escape and eat my neighbor’s cat. Seriously, I was under the impression they only ate goats… Oh well… Live and learn. But, if you know one more thing about me, it’s that I eat at Chipotle at least three days a week (hint: ask for extra rice). Neither of those things has anything to do with this subject, but would be useful if a trivia game is ever made with “James Calkins” as a category.

What the?!

Now, somewhere down the list of things you might know about me is that I firmly believe that most, if not all, myths and legends are based on some fact. For example, I believe the stories of characters like Hercules and Perseus, in which the hero is half-god/half-man, are based on the true account of fallen angels mating with human women, producing gigantic, powerful offspring, found in Genesis 6 in the Bible, and also in the apocryphal book of 1st Enoch. I believe dragons fall into this same category.

You may already know that the word dinosaur, meaning “terrible lizard,” was coined way, way back in 1842 by Sir Richard Owen, just after sailing the ocean blue, but something you might not have considered is that prior to the good Sir Owen’s classic wordsmithing they had to call them something.

Sir Richard Owen
Dinosaur Term Comer Upper Wither
“But they weren’t discovered until archaeology was a thing, dummy!” you might say. To which I would reply, “Nuh uh. You’re the dummy!” While this succinct response might be true, I would like to elaborate just a bit, so that any dummies reading this know exactly why they are dummies, and perhaps decide to secede from Dumbland and join us over here in in the township of Smartfolkshire.

I’ll just give you a short selection of reasons I believe that dinosaurs lived alongside men, who called them dragons all the way up until Rich-O started everyone calling them dinosaurs. I am purposefully NOT giving references. I have, over the past 15 years, done the research and vetted these facts, so if you are interested in any or all of these evidences, I implore you to do as I have done and validate them for yourself. As you might expect, you will find pages and pages of Google search results attempting to shoot these facts down. Read those too. Anything worth believing will stand up against intense scrutiny.

1) Dinosaur tissue has been discovered that is described as – please pardon the following highly technical scientific jargon – “still squishy.” This includes tissue and even hemoglobin from hardrosaur, t-rex, ichthyosaur, psittacosaurus, sinosauropteryx, archaeopteryx, and mosasaur, as well as several other animals and insects which are dated far enough back in time that all soft tissue should have deteriorated or been fossilized millions of years ago.

Dinosaur blood! (I guess?)
Dragons In Love?
2) Ancient art depicts what we now call dinosaurs. The Ica stones from Peru are a well-known example of this, but they’re not all we have to go on. There are cave wall drawings which feature various dinosaurs, including one of a dinosaur fighting a mammoth. A 1,400 year old Middle Eastern wall features depictions of animals from the area. Those animals were lions, bulls, and what look to be sauropod dinosaurs. Middle Eastern, Asian, African, European, and other cultures all feature art, both 2D and 3D, which depicts what can only be described as dinosaurs, in our modern vernacular, or dragons.

Pipe-Smoking Dinosaur-Rider

3) Ancient legends, myths, and histories describe creatures which we would still identify as dragons, had the term “dinosaur” had never been created. The Bible talks about two different dinosaurs; the behemoth, which is a near perfect description of a brachiosaur, and the leviathan, which closely resembles a plesiosaur, or aquatic dinosaur. The Apocrypha also features a story about a dragon, called Bel and the Dragon, which is part of the extended book of Daniel.

Aside from the Bible and Apocrypha there are numerous ancient legends and even historical reports about dragons which were recorded long before humans were supposed to have learned about dinosaurs through the scientific discipline of paleontology. 

Still from the Horrendous Beowulf CGI Film
The Epic of Gilgamesh, Beowulf, and the legend of St. George, as well as a great many Medieval European, Asian, Scandinavian, and Middle Eastern all tell of giant fearsome reptilian creatures. Alexander the Great reported a giant, cave-dwelling dragon.
If that’s not enough, ancient historians such as Josephus and Herodotus tell of creatures we would call dinosaurs. 

Dragon legends and historical accounts from all corners of the world are strong evidence that dinosaurs did, in fact, live alongside man. Heck, even the cowboys encountered dragons! In 1890 a couple of cowboys reportedly shot down an almost hundred-foot-long flying dragon that looked like a Godzilla-sized pterodacty.

"You ain't no dinosaur, now is ya?"
(translated from the Spanish)
4) Dinosaurs are still reported TODAY by some of the more remote people groups. Central Africa boasts a swamp the size of Wisconsin – the state. It’s called Likouala Swamp, and there be dragons in that swamp. At least according to the people who live in and around that area. Without the internet or even paleontology textbooks these people have described what we would call a sauropod dinosaur. They just call it Mokele-mbembe. They’ve drawn what it looks like in the dirt and sand and, to the astonishment of civilized Westerners who know better, it looks exactly like the profile of what we would identify as a swamp-dwelling sauropod. In case you were wondering, they also have a few other dinosaurs living in their ‘hood – three to be exact. You may want to Google Likouala Swamp + dinosaurs. Papua New Guinea also has small glowing pterosaurs. No biggie.

Mokele-Mmbembe, as depicted by witness in Likouala Swamp
I’m getting close to a thousand words here – otherwise known as The Blog Length No One Will Read – so I will bid you adieu. Until next time, faithful readers, I’m James and this is the view from here.
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