Thursday, January 19, 2017

DINOSAURS: From Cultural to Pop Culture - 1100's and 1200's AD: Dragons in the early Medieval Ages

For our next entry in DINOSAURS: From Cultural to Pop Culture - the Medieval Times:

Medieval Times: 1100's and 1200's AD
Dragons in the early Medieval Ages

Even though much writing and other information has been lost from the Medieval Ages, there is still some sources available about what people thought about dragons during that time. During this period it is unclear though if the myth of dragons had stemmed from the discovery of more dinosaurs, or had slowly been evolving on its own, building upon itself as time went by. 

A good website to find information on Medieval beasts is The Medieval Bestiary though.  Another good source is the British Library, which has some crossover between the sources and is a good check on the sources. Images below can be found at this link:


Dragons in the 1100's
I cannot find many examples of dragons in the 1100's or earlier. But the dragons during this time period are depicted in the one work I found to be rather small. They kind of have a dog appearance, however they only have hindlimbs (no front limbs) and large wings (compared to their body size). 


The images above were found in the Bodleian Library, MS. Ashmole 1462(De medicina ex animalibus).


Dragons in the 1200's

As time continued into the 1200's, a feature of dragons that was common during this time was their morphological characteristics. More often than not, they were portrayed with large wings, large rear legs, no front limbs at all, and large ears. Their general body shape was elongate/worm like with enlarged torsos. The one thing that has evolved in them since the 1100's is that they are now depicted much larger, often depicted in association with elephants to emphasize this. Their ears and hind legs have also grown in proportion to the body, as compared to the previous century.

This image can be found in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 14429.

In some myths, the dragon took on the embodiment of Satan, where in this instance the doves are Christians trying to be protected from being devoured. The tree is referred to as a Peridexion tree and can be seen a few times in the literature. The image on the left can be found in the Bibliothèque Municipale de Douai, MS 711 (De Natura animalium) and the one on the right from the British Library, Harley MS 3244.


 Some more dragons near some Peridexion trees. The image on the left can be found in the Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon, MS P.A. 78 (Bestiaire of Guillaume le Clerc) and the image on the right can be found in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, fr. 1444b (Bestiaire of Guillaume le Clerc).

Another version of the dragon showing the "standard" morphological features. This image can be found in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 6838B,


 Another version of a dragon with two sets of wings and legs. I assume, based on the preponderance of only legged dragons during this time, that the front set it not meant to represent front limbs, rather another set of hind limbs. This image can be found in the British Library, Harley MS 3244.

 Another dragon, presented much the same as those above except this one is shown in comparison to an elephant to illustrate its size. This image can be found in the British Library, Sloane MS 278 (Aviarium / Dicta Chrysostomi)


This image I found to be rather peculiar compared to the previous ones. The hind limbs have almost taken on a front limb characteristic, and the illustration seems to have much more detail and colors than the others. This image can be found in the Bodleian Library, MS. Douce 167.


Next time we will continue through the Medieval Ages with the 1300's and 1400's.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Random Dino Pic - Bird Footprints

Another random pic I had come across. Some modern dinosaur (bird) prints along Jones Beach on Long Island. These are likely seagull prints if I recall correctly. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Random Geology Photos - Flight over the Great Salt Lake

Going through some old photos, I came across these that I took as we were flying over the Great Salt Lake on my flight from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas. 

 A view of the salt marshes to the east of the Great Salt Lake.


 Antelope Island, which was formerly an island in the lake, however dropping water levels have exposed the land to the east of the island, no longer making this an island. 


 Another former island, Stansbury Island, which is further to the west. 


 Not exactly of the Great Salt Lake, but in the middle of this photograph is what is called the "Stockton Bar". You can partially see it at the foot of the smaller mountain in the center of the picture. The Stockton Bar is a sandbar located in the Tooele Valley (the valley one over from the Salt Lake Valley) from the old Lake Bonneville. 


A view looking back at the Great Salt Lake from the south, where you can see some of the rock formations in the Oquirrh (pronounced o-ker) Mountains. This is the mountain range on the western edge of the Salt Lake Valley.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Drunk on Geology - Allosaurus Amber Ale

The next up in our Drunk on Geology series is Allosaurus Amber Ale by Vernal Brewing Company.

The Vernal Brewing Company is located near Dinosaur National Monument (of which I had done a Geology Through the National Parks post on before), which is famous for it's Jurassic age fossil wall. This wall contains several different species of dinosaurs in situ (where they had been found), including Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, Apatosaurus, Camarasaurus, and Diplodocus.


The beer is named after the state fossil of Utah, Allosaurus fragilis. Quarries in the area of the brewery have produced abundant quantities of this apex predator. These quarries can be found at the Dinosaur National Monument as well as in central Utah near Price at the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry.

Allosaurus fragilis from the Natural History Museum of Utah.
Allosaurus lived 140 million years ago in the Late Jurassic. The size of these beasts ranged from 25 to 35 feet long and had 4 inch long teeth. The Allosaurus is known as a theropod, meaning that it ate meat. It is also an ancestor to modern day birds. Due to the large number of Allosaurus fossils that are found together in both Vernal and Price, it is thought that Allosaurus may have hunted in packs.


From the can:
"If walls could talk, they'd tell you about prehistoric beasts and modern day savages! Dinosaur National Monument holds over 1,500 fossil bones under one roof."
The fossil wall at Dinosaur National Monument. Home to many an Allosaurus