Returning home that evening I went to my file cabinet and wrote “Fossils” on a blank file folder. I began to file notes, clippings, and references that had any mention of Native Americans and fossils. I was soon surprised at the amount of material I was collecting on a subject that had been ignored by researchers as far as I could see. This search has given me a great deal of satisfaction, and I have experienced the joy of discovery. Along the way I was lucky enough to make the friendship of Adrienne Mayor whose books on the fossil knowledge of early cultures have broken new ground in the understanding of mythology and ethnographic records (I keep waiting to hear about Adrienne receiving a MacArthur grant but so far they do not seem to have noticed yet).
Dinosaur National Monument, UT.
Photo: Peter Faris.
The rock art of Dinosaur National Monument is not found in direct association with the fossilized remains that made it famous, but there is certainly a large quantity of it in that area. I cannot imagine that there not a connection. Rock art portrays the beliefs and events of a society, and in an area with both fossilized dinosaur remains and world class rock art the creators of the rock art must have been aware of the amazing bones.
As I said above, this has been a sub-theme of my personal interest for a long time. Indeed, the photo of giant lizard petroglyphs in my page heading comes from Cub Creek in Dinosaur National Monument, and I have since associated them with a dinosaur fossilized track site nearby, but that is for future postings.