When giants populated the earth

When giants populated the earth

Il Gigante di Trapani, engraving by an anonymous artist published in 1648 in Mundi Subterranei by Athanasius Kircher. MEPL / Bridgeman images

IN THE CEILING OF SCIENCE (2/6) – How old is humanity? From Adam and Eve, the Church responded long before the idea of ​​the evolution of species emerged. And this is how scientists, faced with dinosaur fossils, were able to theorize the giants …

What reaction would you have to discovering a huge bone without ever having heard of the laws of evolution and natural selection? Since ancient times, these archaeological discoveries have fueled myths and legends, says American science historian Adrienne Mayor in an untranslated work published in 2000, The first fossil hunter. Fossils of protoceratops, ornate dinosaurs discovered in the Gobi desert, have thus given birth to griffins, mythical beasts half eagles and half lions.

Men then consider that the living is immutable. This certainty, which will last until the nineteenthAnd century and the works of Darwin, reached its peak starting from the fourteenthAnd century in which the fashion for antique dealers spread throughout Europe. We believe that these bones too large to belong to a known animal are necessarily those of giants hiding in forests or mountains. “Oversized bones created anxiety in populationsto analyze…

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