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The Griffin and the Dinosaur: How Adrienne Mayor Discovered a Fascinating Link Between Myth and Science Hardcover – April 8, 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 ratings

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From School Library Journal

Gr 5–8—Aronson has come together with folklorist/historian Mayor to create this intriguing account of how ancient people conceived of the griffin. How did the ancients come to dream up these amazing creatures? Were they the result of creative minds? Or was there something in the environment that led people to believe in these phenomena, such as how the mythical Cyclops and water monsters bear great resemblance to the bones of ancient dinosaurs? In this work, Aronson describes the journey that Mayor embarked upon to discover if there is a connection between the legend of the griffin and scientific fact. Over the course of eight well-written chapters, information about Mayor's life and research unfolds, letting readers travel to the many countries she visited to conduct her work. From a very young age, Mayor sought answers to the same questions that would inspire her later in life. A complementary blend of photography and ancient artwork aid the readers' perception of the myths and science that are shared in this book. A solid addition about mythology, art, and science for most collections.—Katy Charles, Virgil Elementary School, Cortland, NY

From Booklist

In another forcefully written tribute to the thrill of archaeological discovery, Aronson, author of If Stones Could Speak (2010), retraces coauthor Mayor’s search for evidence to support the idea that griffins and other monsters in ancient Greek mythology were inspired by dinosaur fossils. That search begins in a library (what better place?) and leads through clues carefully gathered from art and folklore of the Greek islands, the remote gold fields of the ancient Scythians, and all the way to the justly renowned fossil beds of Mongolia’s Flaming Cliffs. Plenty of on-site sketches, photos of artifacts, and artist’s conceptions from Muller add dramatic visual elements to the tale, and the maps and resource lists at the end (not seen) will provide intrigued readers with avenues for further study of the tantalizing links “between,” as the subtitle puts it, “myth and science.” As a largely self-taught researcher, rather than a pure product of academe, Mayor also provides a model for Aronson’s liberating, if arguable, contention that “anyone can become an expert, it just takes being patient, observant, and curious.” Grades 5-7. --John Peters

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