Thursday, July 05, 2007

'Dragon' Bone Soup

We called them dinosaurs. Rural Chinese called them 'dragons'. Interesting story here claiming that in central China, villagers have been unearthing of dinosaurs bones, for two decades, and either boiling them up in soups, or grinding the bones into a fine powder for use in their traditional medicines. They apparently believed the bones of 'dragons' had special healing powers :

Until last year, the fossils were being sold in Henan province as "dragon bones" at about 4 yuan (50 cents) per kilogram (2.2 pounds), scientist Dong Zhiming told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Dong, a professor with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said when the villagers found out the bones were from dinosaurs they donated 200 kilograms (440 pounds) to him and his colleagues for research.

"They had believed that the 'dragon bones' were from the dragons flying in the sky," he said.

The calcium-rich bones were sometimes boiled with other ingredients and fed to children as a treatment for dizziness and leg cramps. Other times they were ground up and made into a paste that was applied directly to fractures and other injuries, he said.

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