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Mysterious and misidentified fossils

Mysterious and misidentified fossils

Fossils of extinct animals can be easily misidentified, especially when that particular species is still unknown. Several such fossil discoveries proved to be something completely different than what they were thought to be, and thus, many new species have been identified and enriched the existing or previously existing fauna and flora of this planet, some dating back millions of years ago.

Mysterious and misidentified fossils Hominid fossils

Hominid fossils have created great controversy in being identified appropriately as on various occasions they were considered to be remains of mythical Bible creatures, such as giants or demons, modern apes, aliens and other humanoid-like creatures.

Mysterious and misidentified fossils Sea urchins

Sea urchins have been present for hundreds of millions of years, and needless to say, they left numerous fossils behind. The misidentification of sea urchin fossils is strongly related to the ways various cultures interpreted them, being thought to be supernatural crowns, loaves of bread or magical snake eggs in England, thunderstorms and foul weather detectors in Denmark and lucky charms in India.

Mysterious and misidentified fossils Mastodons and Mammoths

Mastodons and Mammoths were the ancestors of the elephants nowadays, roaming the earth several thousands of years ago. But due to a physical characteristic (that was also preserved with elephants), namely a rather large hole in the front of the skull, many have linked them to the legend of the giant mythical Cyclops. Nothing falser than that, as that hole had a particular structural role related to the highly muscular trunk that was thus allowed freedom of movement and flexibility.

Mysterious and misidentified fossils The Anchisaurus

The Anchisaurus was an early, herbivorous dinosaur that reached almost 2 m in size, so was significantly smaller than its relatives, the Apatosaurus and diplodocus. It was misidentified particularly because of its size, as many were convinced that these were the fossils of a humanoid creature, entirely disregarding its reptilian traits. Later on, when more fossils of the Anchisaurus have been discovered, the mystery was completely solved and there was no more room for any doubt.

Mysterious and misidentified fossils Belemnites

Belemnites are ancestors of the squid, but unlike it, they presented ten equal arms covered in tiny hooks and most importantly presented a skeleton. They filled the seas during the dinosaur era and, as another distinction from the squid, had no tentacles. Due to their cylindrical and pointed bodies, much like a projectile, they were thought to be weapons of thunder gods and people used to keep them in their homes to be protect themselves from lightning strikes. Also considered elves fingers, fairy candles or pixie bolts they were of course used in various superstitious medicines.

Mysterious and misidentified fossils Protoceratops

Protoceratops, a relative of the triceratops was initially mistaken for a small lion. The only difference is that its skull had a bird-like beak, so this also suggested the existence of the mythical griffin, given that its front feet rather resembled claws and not paws. This dinosaur lived in large herds, hence the numerous fossils left behind.

Mysterious and misidentified fossils Foraminifera

Foraminifera is actually the remains of an amoeba-like creature, that after death, sheds its protective, highly intricate protective shell. A Japanese legend says that these star shaped, minuscule structures are in fact the remains of unfortunate children conceived by two stars, who have fallen to earth or were killed by a giant mystical serpent of the sea.

Mysterious and misidentified fossils The Lepidodendron

The Lepidodendron is actually a plant, but very much resembles a tree, due to its large structure and hard bark. Its fossils are truly spectacular, and besides that, a lot of the coal in Europe originates in these fossils. Due to the bark’s highly intricate flat scales, the Lepidodendron was initially thought to represent the remains of an ancient, serpent-like creature.

Mysterious and misidentified fossils Fish teeth

Fish teeth, namely the fossilized examples, were thought to be magic jewels, cure epilepsy and poisoning if worn around the neck, a monster’s discarded fingernails and even hardened devil tongues. Needless to say, that after thorough analyses and examinations, these fossils proved to be mere shark teeth.

Mysterious and misidentified fossils Ammonites

Ammonites have been initially identified as ram horns, playing in several civilizations and cultures a sacred and mystical role. In the Middle Ages ammonites were considered to be petrified coiled snakes turned to stone by Christian saints. In fact, ammonites are fossils of a shelled creature, belonging to the squid family which lived 400 million years ago, very much resembling the modern nautilus.

 

 

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