July 4, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

Chinese Eat Dragon Bone for Health

Chinese villagers dig up dinosaur bones for health food.  Yahoo News reported, “Villagers in central China dug up a ton of dinosaur bones and boiled them in soup or ground them into powder for traditional medicine, believing they were from flying dragons and had healing powers.”  The article says the bones are calcium rich and believed to be a treatment for dizziness and cramps.  A paste made from the material is applied to fractures and injuries.  The people of the village have been doing this for at least two decades.
Update 07/13/2007: National Geographic reported on this on July 13.  It added a mythical twist to the modern-day culture:

Dong’s dig has uncovered a curious mix of findings on dinosaurs and on ancient Chinese beliefs surrounding dragons.
    Dragons appeared in Chinese mythology more than 3,000 years ago and are worshiped as guardians of waterways, mountains, or skies.
    Xu Xing, arguably China’s top “dinosaur hunter,” said many villagers—and even some people in Chinese cities—still believe in dragons.  The Chinese characters for dinosaur even combine the words for “terror” and “dragon.”

This was followed up by a paradoxical question: “When asked how 21st-century Chinese could retain a belief in mythological beasts, Xu countered: ‘How can so many Americans still disbelieve in evolution?’”  The article suggests that ancient Chinese myths about dragons may have come from digging up dinosaur bones.

Maybe the villagers know something more than the paleontologists, who don’t seem to see any problem with calcium-rich bones 85 million years old.  Wouldn’t it all have been replaced by rock?  And how did the people connect the bones with their mythical dragons?  Bones do not easily suggest to a layman what a creature looked like; certainly nothing about its behavior could be inferred.  And how did this much bone get fossilized in one small area, when most large animals today do not fossilize?  Interesting questions, but not enough information was provided.

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Categories: Dinosaurs, Fossils, Health

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