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Prehistoric bone may have inspired Greek myths

A bone treasured by the ancient Greeks of a large extinct animal has found a new home in England.

Large fossil remains of prehistoric species, like this petrified thigh bone, might have been the inspiration for many legendary beasts of classical mythology, according to Mayor, who described the fossil for the first time in her 2000 book “The First Fossil Hunters.”

Uncovering the roots of several myths, the book, whose revised edition has been published this month, showed that prehistoric fossils exist in the very places where myths about giant beings arose.

“Most likely, the ancient Greeks found the bone in the lignite deposits of the Megalopolis basin, known in antiquity as the ‘Battleground of the Giants.’ There, the dense concentration of large fossil bones inspired the belief that entire armies of giants were blasted by Zeus’s thunderbolts,” Mayor told Discovery News.

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Story: Rossella Lorenzi | Photo: Adrienne Mayor

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