The media sometimes appear reporting about local Chinese individuals using dinosaur fossils to create medicine. The utilization of dinosaur and other fossils in medication could be tricky to believe in the West, but this practice of using fossils in conventional medicine is truly quite common.
Dinosaur Bones used in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Indeed, there is a significant trade in various dragon bones and other such items inside the Far East. Most of the fossils are ground into fine powders and then these are additional to herbs, animal remains, fruits and seeds to create up local remedies. These medications are used to”cure” a variety of ills from stomach upsets, headaches and even colds and influenza.
It may seem odd to us but as dragons are extremely important to the local mythology of the more distant sections of China. Dragons are supposed to possess magical powers and it is these properties which convince locals to take them in potions to cure what’s ailing them.
A Description of a Dinosaur
Ironically, the early Chinese who initially discovered dinosaur fossils were fairly accurate in their evaluation of these belonging to dragons – giant, monstrous reptiles. Not a poor hypothesis, a theory that didn’t take hold in the West before the 19th Century. Grinding up these fossils to be used in medication may also seem strange, I shudder to think what priceless discoveries have finished up ground into powder with a shaman.
However, fossils are usually only found in sedimentary rocks like limestone. These alkaline rocks, once ground down into a fine powder and swallowed may actually help out with easing certain stomach complaints like acidosis and indigestion. Although, I’d never recommend anybody to try this – stick to the prescribed indigestion remedies.
Perhaps we can learn a trick or two from those ancient apothecaries.
Chinese Apothecaries Assisted in the Discovery of Fossils
It is not merely dinosaur bones which were lost to science as a result of practices of Chinese medication. The German palaeoanthropologist Ralph von Koenigswald was wandering around the back roads of Hong Kong in 1935 when he happened upon one of these pharmacies.
Curious, he drifted in and he discovered on one of the numerous shelves, a huge molar (a tooth) labelled as a dragon’s tooth. He understood that this was a fossil and that it was unlikely to have come from any known reptile but what strange animal could have such a massive molar? Doctor Koenigswald bought the tooth and persuaded the owner to show him exactly where the tooth had come from.
The fossil tooth was tracked back to a distant cave, where, was discovered more teeth and a few bones. Ralph von Koenigswald had found a new fossil primate species – the greatest ape ever known. He termed this new creature Gigantopithecus (Gigantic Ape), it’s thought that the men weighed over 550 kgs and when they could stand their two feet they would have been more than 3 metres tall.
The fossils of the enormous ape, have been discovered in China and Vietnam, it was a herbivore, eating fruits and bamboo. However, if you would like to see dinosaur fossils and do not fancy a trip to a museum, try a trip to a neighborhood Chinese medication emporium, it’s amazing what things you’ll see on the shelves – even dinosaur bones all labelled up ready to be utilised in a traditional medication.
The Best Dinosaur Hunters
In the more report components of China, that the regional individuals still hold onto lots of their traditional beliefs. Dragons remain an important symbol in many cultures and this respect and respect has helped many a palaeontological expedition.
The locals are often quite eager to assist the scientists by taking them to places where”dragon bones” and other ancient relics, we know as fossils are found. The support and guidance of the local people can spare a field team several hours or even days, since they have the ability to pin-point quickly prospective dig sites which merit further exploration.
China has World’s Biggest Collection of Fossil Vertebrates
The Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology based in Beijing, part of the Chinese Academy of sciences has, largely as a consequence of co-operating with local people, built up in the past fifty years or so the largest collection of vertebrate fossils in the world.
The Institute has something in the area of two hundred and fifty million fossilised bones of vertebrates in its own collection. Lots of those fossils are those of dinosaurs, as there are a number of very significant dinosaur discoveries made in China over the past few years.
From the deserts of Mongolia, into the chilly depths of the northern plains in addition to at the world-famous Liaoning Province – renowned for its multitude of feathered dinosaur fossils which have been discovered there.