The Evolution of Paleontological Art
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS
Fossils have stirred the imagination globally for thousands of years, starting well before they were recognized as the remains of once-living organisms and proxies of former worlds. This volume samples the history of art about fossils and the visual conceptualization of their significance starting with biblical and mythological depictions, extending to renditions of ancient life as it flourished in long-vanished habitats, and on to a modern understanding that fossil art conveys lessons for the betterment of the human condition. The 29 papers and accompanying artwork illustrate how art about fossils has come to be a significant teaching tool not only about evolution of past life, but also about conservation of our planet for the benefit of future generations.
Imaging dragons in the Old Testament: Were Leviathan and Behemoth Mesozoic monsters?
Published:February 24, 2022
Robert T. Bakker, 2022. "Imaging dragons in the Old Testament: Were Leviathan and Behemoth Mesozoic monsters?", The Evolution of Paleontological Art, Renee M. Clary, Gary D. Rosenberg, Dallas C. Evans
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For much of the nineteenth century, the majority of respected stratigraphers were serial creationists who read the rocks as recording successive extinctions followed by new creations, a process that generated progress in vertebrate structure. Beginning after World War I, Leviathan and Behemoth were cited by Young Earth Creationists—a minority among anti-Darwinians—as Mesozoic species observed by humans. This view spread rapidly after World War II. However, the anatomy and behavior of these beings, as portrayed in Ugaritic and Hebrew literature, leads to a firmer identification. The Leviathan of Job has powerful jaws armed with great teeth; skull armor renders hooks impotent; body armor of scales set so close together that they repel spears; water is thrashed into foam by twisting death rolls; this is altogether an accurate rendition of the Nile Crocodile. The Behemoth is a young, adult male African Elephant distinguished by grass-eating habits and an enormous, uncontrolled male organ: “tail like a cedar tree.”