Prehistoric Fossil May Have Inspired Greek Myths

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The thigh bone of a huge extinct mammal may have helped inspired a beast or two in classical mythology.

The bone of a large extinct creature, once treasured by the ancient Greeks, has finally found a permanent home in England.

Known as the Nichoria bone, the blackened fossil is part of the thigh bone of an immense extinct mammal that roamed southern Greece perhaps a million years ago. The bone was collected by ancient Greeks and may have even helped inspire certain beasts in Greek classical mythology. It was then rediscovered 40 years ago.

Since then the fossil had largely vanished from the public eye.

Large fossil remains of prehistoric species, like this petrified thigh bone, might have been the inspiration for many legendary beasts of classical mythology, according to Mayor, who described the fossil for the first time in her 2000 book "The First Fossil Hunters."

Uncovering the roots of several myths, the book, whose revised edition has been published this month, showed that prehistoric fossils exist in the very places where myths about giant beings arose....

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