> Jason Spencer/Elizabeth Childs/Spike wrote:
> >>if the ancients found dinosaur skeletons, they would be at a loss to
> >>explain them. Perhaps the flood legend recorded in the book of
> >>Genesis came from finding fossils of sea creatures on mountainsides,
> >>and the dinosaur legends were spawned by the discovery
> >>of a t-rex skeleton? spike
The Flood legend now has a scientific explanation. Apparently around 5600 B.C. the Mediterranean Sea broke though the Bosporus and flooded into the Black Sea expanding its area by a factor of 3. See the book "Noah's Flood" @ amazon.com. It is believed as well that the legend of Atlantis arose from a volcano in the Aegean sea destroying a Minonian civilization in 1629 B.C.
So many "legends" have a basis in fact, but it takes a lot of hard work to tease out the truth behind the fiction.
What is fascinating (looking under both Flood and Atlantis @ Amazon) is the degree to which pseudoscience prevails in our culture!
> >Seems pretty unlikely that the ancients would have found a T-Rex skeleton
> >complete enough to give them any idea of what the animal would have looked
> >like when alive, or indeed any dinosaur skeleton that would have let them
> >understand that they were looking at the remains of a lizard-like creature.
This seems true, if you look at how hard it is to find good fossils today, when we cover the globe and people have "jobs" to explore uninhabited areas for fossils and sophisticated tools to uncover and preserve them, ancient people running across T-Rex skeletons would have been very rare indeed. I believe that it wasn't until the mid-1800's that enough geological and fossil evidence had accumulated to call into question the Biblical version of "genesis" and allow the development of Darwin's theory of evolution.
> So, has anyone seen any gargoyles that look sufficiently Protoceratopsian
> that might add credence to this claim?
A much better explanation in my mind would be simply "horrific images" dragged from the depths of nightmares. Remember, we are talking the people who want to decorate their edifices with images that will scare you into believing that they have the "true answers"...
Now, on the other hand there clearly are some genetic memories that are built into humans. If you think about this for a minute, it would make sense to have genetic memories regarding situations or substances that could represent a threat to survival (particularly for small children who may not have learned to avoid certain things).
Some possibilities I've thought about include snakes, insects (why do most humans hate cockroaches?) and certain specific smells (especially any smells involving death, illness or decay). There may also be some innate response to "red" (the color of blood), though this could be learned. There appears to be a significant amount of wiring in the brain for "face recognition". This is an essential requirement for friend or foe analysis to trigger your fight/flight response.
And of course many of our sexual and emotional triggers and responses have a substantial hard-wired component.