Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Just a spoonful of Mamenchisaurus to help the medicine go down!

Pachycephalosaurus: overlooked source to cure gout, pinkeye, and disobedient children?

Yahoo News has reported that central Chinese villagers from the Henan province have been grinding up dinosaur fossils and using them as traditional medicine to cure dizziness and leg cramps. Their belief has been that the calcium-rich fossils are dragon bones.

And here's the good news. The scientist who reported this story, Dong Zhiming, also said that once the villagers found out what it was they were consuming, they stopped. Someone please, please fly this man to a certain 'museum' in Kentucky! His powers of persuasion must be truly awesome.

Really though. Folkloric animal-based medicines like shark-cartilege and tiger penises have been persuasive medicines for the desperate, the traditional, and the New Age set for, well, since prehistory, I would guess. And I think the two easiest ways to spot a false cure are 1. when it cures a disparate set of ailments, such as the "dizziness & leg cramps", or 2. when it cures something suspiciously too-related to what body part it is from, like tiger penis for sexual dysfunction. Makes me suspicious. Oh yeah, and lack of double-blind empirical testing is not a good sign either.

Good for these folks though. Stopped drinking dinosaur-calcium soup straight away. Perhaps last month's Seed magazine was right, and China is successfully pushing its science-based agenda thoughout the country. Hm.

The Flying Trilobite happily recommends Dinobase for an excellent source of dinosaur related science. And, next week, my wife and I will be visiting family in Alberta! I hope to produce more dinosaur sketches like the one above while I am there. Any of this blog's readers out in Calgary?

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