Did Fossils Inspire Thunderbird Legends?
Adrienne Major thinks that the Lakota got their legend of the Thunderbird from looking at fossil pterosaurs in the badlands. Her speculation is explored in National Geographic News. Major thinks other world legends have their origin in fossils that ancient people observed.
This hypothesis is no less speculative than the one by creationists that Indians saw live pterosaurs and the Chinese saw live dinosaurs. Evolutionists would never consider such an idea, because they have their own myths. They are wedded to the tale that dinosaurs and pterosaurs died out long before man appeared. Do they know this for a fact? No; they were not there, for one thing, and their prior commitment to evolutionary theory dictates how all data are to be interpreted. The discovery of flexible blood vessels in a T. rex recently (see 03/24/2005) shows the extent of their commitment; rather than consider the obvious, that this unfossilized material could not be 70 million years old, they adjusted their assumptions to fit their myth.
Were the Chinese and the Lakota skilled in paleontological interpretation of disarticulated bones? Would it not be more plausible to suggest that perhaps they saw some of these creatures before the last ones died out? It would seem more likely that the fearsome appearance of imposing live creatures would generate better myths than would dead bones to untrained eyes.