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Chinese villagers eat dinosaur bones


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#1    Owlscrying

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 03:01 PM

July 4
BEIJING (AP) - Villagers in central China regularly dug up dinosaur bones and boiled them in soup or ground them into powder for traditional medicine, believing they were from flying dragons and had healing powers.

Until last year, the fossils were being sold in Henan province as "dragon bones" at about 4 yuan (C56 cents) a kilogram, scientist Dong Zhiming said.

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 to him and his colleagues for research.

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.
  
The practice had been going on for at least two decades, he said.

Dong was among a team of scientists who recently excavated in Henan's Ruyang County an 18-metre-long plant-eating dinosaur, which lived 85 million to 100 million years ago. Local officials held a news conference Tuesday, showing off the find to the public for the first time.

Another two dinosaur fossils were being excavated in the area, which is rich in fossilized dinosaur eggs.
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#2    Shaftsbury

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 04:20 PM

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The calcium-rich bones were sometimes boiled with other ingredients and fed to children as a treatment for dizziness and leg cramps.


Hmmmm I doubt it very much if they were able to extract calcium from the bones, calcium carbonate perhaps.

Quote

most fossil bones contain significant amounts of calcium carbonate, deposited after the animal's death


Source: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v297/...s/297577a0.html

Quote

Calcium carbonate is the active ingredient in agricultural lime. It is a common substance found as rock in all parts of the world and is the main component of seashells and the shell of snails. It is usually the principal cause of hard water.


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_carbonate

I think they could get the same result by boiling up a bunch of snail shells, so much for the healing powers of dragon bones.

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#3    Pax Unum

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 10:19 PM

I wonder how many rare or even unknown fossils have been ground up for 'medicine'. hasn't this been going on for thousands of years?... just wondering


#4    questionmark

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 11:43 PM

In any case ... if it helps them to be healthy so be it. Would be better though that they show the bone to a paleontologist before grinding them up ... just in case they are about to eatr the missing link.



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