January 29, 2003
Cyclops' bones found on Crete
Well, not really -- but pretty close, as CNN reports:
Researchers on the southern Greek island of Crete have unearthed the fossilized tusk, teeth and bones of a Deinotherium Gigantisimum, a fearsome elephant-like creature that might have given rise to ancient legends of one-eyed cyclops monsters.The article includes a picture of an elephant skull.
The 7 million-year-old remains suggest the mammal moved around larger areas of Europe than previously believed, possibly swimming long distances in search of food. . .
Remains of other elephant ancestors have previously been found on mainland Greece, leading some researchers to speculate that bones found by ancient Greeks may have become part of their mythology.
A large hole in the middle of the elephant's skull -- the nasal cavity for its trunk -- could have given rise to the tales of the cyclops, the ferocious mythological giant with one eye that appears in Homer's Odyssey and other stories.
This, of course, ties in to the well-received thesis of Adrienne Mayor and Peter Dodson's The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times.
Posted by David on January 29, 2003 1:21 PM