Recently, paleontologists, examining the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rex, found remnants of red blood cells - erythrocytes - in microvessels piercing them. It is unlikely that red blood cells are able to persist for tens of millions of years. Such discoveries force to question the multimillion-dollar age of fossil lizards and even suggest that humans and dinosaurs were neighbors on the planet until recently.
Tyrannosaurus from the saga
Many readers have probably seen the film "Beowulf and Grendel" shot several years ago by Western European filmmakers. In the film, the troll Grendel is shown as a wild man of enormous height and frightening appearance. But not all researchers of the Anglo-Saxon epic of Beowulf imagine the troll in this way. They draw attention to the fact that, according to the description, Grendel moved silently on two powerful hind legs, while the front ones were small, frail and hung helplessly in the air. The skin of this creature could not be pierced with either a sword or a spear. Grendel's life span could exceed 300 years, and by the end of its life the monster was several times higher than a person, whom he had no difficulty in swallowing. And the very name of the troll "Grendel" is translated as "thresher". He could literally grind the bones of victims. Isn't it a tyrannosaurus?
Beowulf in close combat cut off Grendel's weak and awkward front paw, after which the monster died, bleeding. No wonder - the blood pressure of the tyrannosaurus was very high for the normal supply of oxygen to the massive head so high above the ground. In general, seasonal dragon hunting was almost the main occupation of the brave Beowulf. The hero and his team, as befits professionals, paid much attention to the study of the structure, habits and lifestyle of such monsters. The descriptions given in the epic make it possible to identify almost all the species of dragons mentioned there with fossil lizards.
Knights vs. Dinosaurs
Rave? Not at all necessary. Western European knights and their predecessors have always revered it for valor to fight the dragon. And the terrible Serpent Gorynych did not bypass Russia with his attention. As Russian heroes - him. Dragons also occupy a significant place in the Scandinavian epics. For example, the Volsung saga glorifies the feat of a warrior named Sigurd, who defeated the monster Fafnir. The dragon moved on four legs, dragging a heavy body along the ground. Knowing that the hide on Fafnir's back is invulnerable to a sword or a spear, Sigurd dug a hole on the path along which the monster walked to the watering hole and, seated in it, struck a monster passing over him in the belly.
However, heroes and knights did not always win in battle. According to the ancient Celtic chronicles, King Moridd in 336 BC was killed and swallowed by the monster Bellois. It "swallowed Moridd's body like a large fish swallows a small one." The early Breton king Peredar was more fortunate - he prevailed in a battle with a similar monster in the area of Llyn Llyon (Wales). British chronicles also tell of many places in the territory of modern Wales, once inhabited by monsters - the Athanians and Carrogs - and got their names from the names of these creatures. One of the last Afanks was killed in 1693 by Edward Lloyd at Lleinar Afank on the Conway River. And in the chronicles of the Canterbury Temple, it is noted that on Friday September 16, 1449, near the village of Little Conrad, which was on the border of Suffolk and Essex counties, many residents watched the fight between two giant reptiles.
Another British medieval chronicle reports that in 1405 “not far from the city of Bures, near Sudbury, to the great regret of all the people, a dragon appeared, a huge body, with a comb on its head, teeth like saw teeth, and a tail of incredible length.He killed the shepherd and devoured many sheep."
The battles of heroes with dragons took place in the Middle East. George the Victorious once defeated such a predatory reptile. During one of his campaigns, he ended up in Beirut. Not far from the city, in the Lebanese mountains, there was a lake in which a predatory dragon that terrified the entire district lived. By order of the pagan priests, local residents daily brought a young man or a girl to the lake to be devoured by a monster. Learning of this, Saint George entered into single combat with the dragon and pierced his throat with a spear, pinning him to the ground. Then he tied the wounded monster and dragged him to the city, where he beheaded in a large crowd of people. Today, St. George the Victorious, slaying the dragon, adorns coats of arms, palaces and temples throughout Europe and beyond. At the same time, enthusiastic researcher Alexander Bogdanov notes that the canonical dragon, as a rule, resembles the carnivorous dinosaur baryonyx.
The Bible mentions the ancient Babylonian fire-red dragon Sirush. This creature, which in Mesopotamia was also called Mushussu and Mushhush, was considered there to be the offspring of the mother of all dragons, the divine Tiamat. Images of Sirus were discovered by British archaeologist Robert Koldewey at the end of the 19th century on the Babylonian gate of Queen Ishtar he found at that time. These gates were of very ancient origin. King Nebuchadnezzar updated them and left a text for posterity with the words: "I decorated the walls with sirus so that all people would look at them and be amazed."
The same Koldewey in 1913 for the first time expressed the idea that the Babylonian dragon is similar to fossil lizards. In 1918, he went further and argued in his next book that the animal, if it existed, should be classified as an avian dinosaur. Caldeway wrote: "The Iguanodon, found in Cretaceous sediments in Belgium, is the closest relative of the Babylonian dragon."
Images of dinosaurs, and more modern ones, are also found elsewhere. A Cambodian temple dating from around 1200 has a bas-relief depicting a stegosaurus, an ancient raptor with sharp-angled plates along the ridge. In Great Britain, on the tombstone of Bishop Richard Bell, who died in 1496, in the Carlisle Cathedral, there is an engraving depicting animals that are difficult to characterize other than diplodocus. They coexist there with ordinary dogs, pigs, fish and birds. Needless to say, there are countless images of dragons on Chinese dishes and embroidery, as well as their prevalence in medieval European heraldry.
In fact, the mythical dragon, unlike real dinosaurs, was a fire-breathing creature. It would seem - a purely fantastic feature. But not everything is so simple. Some paleontologists believe that in the head bag-reservoirs of dinosaurs, connected to the nasopharynx by special channels, there was a certain chemically active liquid - unsaturated hydrocarbon. The abrupt contraction of the reservoir bag resulted in the release of hydrocarbon. Being ignited in the air, the jet served the "dragon" as a weapon of defense and attack.
People have not so long ago documented cases of meeting with fire-breathing gigantic creatures. The great historian of antiquity Nikostratos of Samothrace wrote in his diary: "A high serpent burned the ships of the Phoenicians with fire." Nowadays, there are still similar fire-breathing creatures, only miniature. For example, the bombardier bug. The insect, which does not exceed two centimeters in length, is endowed with an amazing defense mechanism. The bombardier stores a mixture of hydroquinone with a 25% solution of hydrogen peroxide in special muscle bags, which do not react with each other under normal conditions. In case of danger, the mixture enters the "reactor chamber" located in the back of the bug's body and contains a special enzyme that acts as a catalyst.An instant, explosive oxidation reaction occurs, and a jet of hot gas is fired at the offender. So it seems that even the fiery breathing phenomenon of dragon-dinosaurs can be rationally explained.