Fwd: Folklore of Dinosaur Trackways in China

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Michael Barton

Dec 17, 2011, 11:53:37 PM12/17/11
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From: Ben Creisler <bscre...@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 12:25 PM
Subject: Folklore of Dinosaur Trackways in China
To: "dino...@usc.edu" <dino...@usc.edu>

From: Ben Creisler
Many thanks to Xing Lida for bringing this new paper to my attention. The pdf can be downloaded for free from:
Lida Xing, Adrienne Mayor, Yu Chen, Jerald D. Harris & Michael E. Burns (2011)
The Folklore of Dinosaur Trackways in China: Impact on Paleontology.
Ichnos 18(4):  213-220
Fossilized footprints made by extinct creatures have captured the attention of humans worldwide. Many different prescientific cultures have attempted to identify the trackmakers and account for the tracks of unfamiliar species. In China, local folklore about dinosaur footprints is preserved in oral traditions of great antiquity, which persist today in at least five regions with conspicuous tracksites. Although folk explanations are expressed in mythological terms, they are based on careful observation over many generations. Ichnological myths often contain details that reveal attention to size, morphology, and sedimentology of tracks. Chinese folklore identified dinosaur tracks as those of divine or fantastic birds of various sizes, legendary large mammals, sacred plants, and deities or heroes. Popular knowledge of dinosaur tracksites and myth-based descriptions of mysterious footprints in stone could serve as a guide for paleontologists in East Asia,
 leading them to identify new trackways previously unknown to science.


Michael D. Barton
Portland, OR
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