Can a Leopard Change Its Paradigm?
As a Christian my interests are not strictly limited to debates about the meaning of scripture, issues concerning salvation or debates concerning the existence of God. Those are all important to be sure but throughout history science has been driven by human curiosity about and discoveries concerning the world and the universe that God has made.
One of the interests I have is in something I like to call crypto-zoo-archaeology. Clues to the true history of our planet can be discovered by examining the art and artifacts of past civilizations. The truth is; studying and writing about what I and many others have found in these artifacts is another way of addressing; the meaning of scripture, issues concerning salvation and debates concerning the existence of God.
In this pursuit I have found that those who accept the literal creation account of Genesis have an incredible advantage in this arena. One can look at the artifacts of ancient history through at least two filters; 1)that all living creatures are descended from a single living cell and have evolved through some process (essentially linear and sequential) into the higher order living species that we see today, or 2)the Genesis account of creation which would mean that all living creatures including man have all lived together simultaneously through all history in essentially their current forms.
No matter which filter one uses much of ancient history will still be a puzzle. But using the wrong filter certainly leads to a copious number of; inconsistencies, anomalies, contradictions, unknowns, mysteries and a need to fill in missing information with speculations and assertions which are not data or evidence.
Personally, I have tested the Genesis account and found that what I see and what I expect to find in the historical and archaeological record better fit that filter.
Once one of the two above named paradigms are accepted however it is very difficult to see or even to consider evidence that conflicts with the paradigm. This is true whether you believe in evolution or in Creation ex Nihilo by God. This relative inability to see or except or even to evaluate evidence that might appear to conflict with your adopted paradigm afflicts even those among who are quite certain that we are actually open-minded and objective.
This doesnâ€™t negate the fact that one of the referenced paradigms-is actually true-and that the selection of one or the other filter for your own life doesnâ€™t have consequences.
When news outlets announced that James Cameron and others had allegedly found â€śthe Jesus Tombâ€ť it did not cause any consternation among us Christians who paid zero attention to the story. We waited for secular archaeologists to refute it-which they have. When news conferences, books and television series were coordinated around the announcement of an alleged human ancestorâ€”which was going to change everything- exploded on the scene-â€śIdaâ€ť, I personally did not do a spit-take.
By the end of that year â€śIdaâ€ť was not even on lists for the top ten science stories of that year. â€śShe/it had been debunked. I have never seen â€śevidence for evolutionâ€ť. Iâ€™ve never seen a transitional fossil.
I accept that evolutionists have not seen evidence for the theory of creation either. However, shouldnâ€™t just a single ancient artifact indicating that humans and dinosaurs lived together falsify the notion that we missed each other by 65 million years? In the 1920â€™s the Worldâ€™s foremost archaeologist discovered human and dinosaur bones together in Mongolia and he found that they had fashioned jewelry by boring the shells and making ornaments of dinosaur eggs. (See our article: Dinosaur and Human Interactions in Our Times; the New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Sun Times ect)
Do I need to tell you that you need to use â€śfreshâ€ť un-fossilized dinosaur eggs for this purpose? Archaeologist, Roy Chapman Andrews, went on to become the director of the American Museum of Natural History-so how come so many evolutionists ask where there has ever been such evidence (of co-existence) ever in the world?
Letâ€™s test my paradigm theory. Note the middle, right photograph compilation; the one with the three views of an archaeological object above. Once you read the museumâ€™s description of the object, or perhaps prior thereto your filter goes into action.
â€śColima Horned Toad. Protoclassic, ca. 100 B.C. to A.D. 250. Height: 5.3 in. (13.5 cm.); Length: 10.5 in. (26.7 cm.). Price: $2,250
There are four rows of spiked protrusions in high relief along the length of the body, and one row across the head, thirty in all. Coffee bean eyes, recessed nostrils, open mouth, spout as tail, and short legs create a reptile that seems pleased with his surroundings. Provenance: From a Riverside County, California Collection.â€ť
Our article can be found Here.
Now, if you are a creationist, willing to believe that dinosaurs and man co-existed, you may see that the photo comparison with an armored dinosaur is very apt. If however, you are using the evolution filter it will be a toad. There is no way that it could be a dinosaur because you believe that they missed each other by 65 million years.
This is then, for you a toad, a fake or etc.. Paradigm preserved. Forehead unfurrowed. In the same way, of course, I have trouble accepting this as a toad because I see the dinosaur explanation as a better fit-however, I do believe that the toad explanation is a possibility.
Just above, left is another very interesting ancient artifact. This artifact is described by the curator as a â€ślionâ€ť. I picked this one out because I want to get into the heart of this post and talk about another group of famous lions. Most people would be perfectly willing to see this depiction as a â€ślionâ€ť.
â€śEarly Islamic glass lion (zoomorphic balsamarium). 7th-9th century ADâ€ť.
Certainly no one would object to â€śmythologicalâ€ť, or â€śunknown animalâ€ť or even; â€śstylized lion figureâ€ť. One must make a decision and call it something. However, if you accept the evolutionary filter it is possible that a whole group of potential candidates canâ€™t even be considered. What if the true depiction here is of some type of crested dinosaur? In the photo weâ€™ve compared it to Olorotitan, a European, crested hadrosaur (top, right of photo) and to Amargasaurus, a crested sauropod. Fossils of the specific species have been found in Argentina.
My point is that creationists can consider the entire creation when examining an artifact but those using the other filter cannotâ€”and maintain their paradigm-al purity. They must describe every artifact in terms of the ruling evolutionary paradigm or face the penalties that the scientific/academic/media culture will mete out. Can you imagine someone from Academia describing this as either a badly composed lion or possibly a sauropod like Amargasaurus?
So now letâ€™s talk about some other depictions labeled â€ślionsâ€ť by the archaeological establishment.
The Terrace of Lions at Delos
â€śThe island of Delos, recognized as the birthplace of the god Apollo, has been a sacred area used for various reasons throughout history. Today it is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece and is covered in excavations, one of which is the famous Terrace of the Lions. This terrace was erected and dedicated to Apollo by the people of Naxos just before 600 BCE.
The terrace consisted of a row of nine to twelve marble carved lions that faced eastward towards the Sacred Lake of Delos along the Sacred Way from Skardana Bay to the temples. The lions, with their mouths open as if roaring or snarling, were both meant to guard the sanctuaries and to inspire a feeling of divine fear among the worshippers. The way in which they were positioned is similar to the way sphinxes were set up along avenues in ancient Egypt.
Today, only five of the original lions remain with remnants of three others and the headless body of another has been transported and put over the main gate of a Venetian arsenal.â€ť Biers, William R. The Archaeology of Greece. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996. Whitley, James. The Archaeology of Ancient Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
â€śThe island of Delos near Mykonos, near the centre of the Cyclades archipelago, is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece. The excavations in the island are among the most extensive in the Mediterranean; ongoing work takes place under the direction of the French School at Athens and many of the artifacts found are on display at the Archaeological Museum of Delos and the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.â€ť
Photo:Naxian Lions held at the Museum at Delos are less damaged.
Question? Are these in fact, lions? If they are lions, they are surely â€śstylized lionsâ€ť because their proportions are incorrect. Their front legs are too long. They have three fingers paws. Their bodies are too long. This from a culture that provides us many examples of museum level, realistic depictions of lions and other animals. If these are lions built to â€śguardâ€ť the sanctuaries why arenâ€™t they more self-evidently and accurately sculpted; lions?
Could they depict some other animal? Are they mythological?
Prior to trying to answer that, we switch to a more recent crypto-zoological mystery; the Nandi Bear of Kenya for reasons which I hope to make clear.
The Nandi Bear and Chalicotherium
â€śThe Nandi Bear, also known as Ngoloko, is a cryptid, or unconfirmed animal, reported to live in Africa. It takes its name from the Nandi people who live in western Kenya, near where the Nandi Bear is reported as living.
Frank W. Lane wrote, “What the Abominable Snowman is to Asia, or the great Sea Serpent is to the oceans, the Nandi Bear is to Africa. It is one of the most notorious of those legendary beasts which have, so far, eluded capture and the collector’s rifle.
â€¦Descriptions of the Nandi Bear are of a ferocious, powerfully built carnivore with high front shoulders (over four feet tall) and a sloping back; somewhat similar to a hyena. Some have speculated that Nandi Bears are in fact a misidentified hyena or a surviving Ice Age giant hyena: Karl Shuker states that a surviving short-faced hyena Pachycrocuta brevirostris,extinct ca. 500,000 years before present, would “explain these cases very satisfactorily.”
Other than the Atlas Bear (extinct by the 1800s), no bears are known to be native to Africa, besides those of the prehistoric genera Agriotherium and Indarctos, which died out 4.4 million years ago. Louis Leakey suggested that Nandi Bear descriptions matched that of the extinct Chalicotherium, though chalicotheres were herbivores.
The Nandi people call it Kerit. Local legend holds that it only eats the brain of its victims. Nandi Bears were regularly reported in Kenya throughout the 19th century and early 20th century. Bernard Heuvelmans’s On the Track of Unknown Animals and Karl Shuker’s In Search of Prehistoric Survivors provide the most extensive chronicles of Nandi bear sightings in print.â€ť
A syndicated news article appearing Mansfield News of January 6, 1924 reported that a very large fresh, fragment of unfossilized claw of chalicotherium had been discovered at Bunyoro, Uganda ( Central Africa) and that the thought to be extinct chalicotherium might be very much still alive.
In fact, Zoologists were making a connection between the stories the Nandi peoples had been telling of a fearsome, man killing, brain eating deadly night creature they called â€śGereitâ€ť might exist and was in fact, chalicotherium. The drawing above right, is from that 1924 article and is a depiction of chalicotherium.
â€śChalicotherium, genus of extinct perissodactyls, the order including the horse and rhinoceros. Fossil remains of the genus are common in deposits of Asia, Europe, and Africa from the Miocene Epoch (23 to 5.3 million years ago). The genus persisted into the following Pliocene Epoch, and remains of a related genus, Moropus, are found in North America.
Chalicotherium and its relatives, collectively known as the chalicotheres, ( weâ€™re not locking down on the genus) were very unusual in appearance and structure. In overall appearance the body and slim skull were horse like. The front limbs were longer than the hind limbs, and the back sloped downward. The teeth were distinctive in structure and unhorse like. The feet were quite distinctive.
There were no hooves; instead, each of the three toes on each foot terminated in a strongly developed claw. It is probable that the development of claws was related to the feeding habits of the animal. Chalicotherium may have browsed on branches of trees, pulling them down with the front claws; the claws may also have been employed to dig up roots and tubers.â€ťâ€¦Encyclopedia Britannica
The Crux: is the Nandi Bear a Chalicotherium? And What of the Lions of the Terrace at Delos?
Photo: Left, drawing of the Nandi bear from eyewitness accounts and Right, a frontal view of one of the Terrace of Lions, “lions”.
The Chalicotherium is supposed to have gone extinct from 5-7 million years ago. The chalicotherium has been forth as a possible ID for the Nandi bear primarily because the chalicotherium is also known for having much longer front legs than back legs and to have claws as some eyewitness accounts of the Nandi bear have described it.
The Nandi bear is also a cryptid whose description fits no known, living animal so the late survival of some animal thought to have been prehistoric are put forward as potential suspects. Hyenadon is another animal thought to have been prehistoric that has also been put forth as a potential suspect for the same reasons; high front shoulders, long front legs and a sloping back.
The chalicotherium ID is interesting in that this animal also has very unusual feet and claws which set him apart.
Photo:Comparison of admittedly carefully selected chalicotherium depiction inserted into old photo of Naxian (Terrace of Lions) Lion at Delos.
I came across the Terrace of Lions of Delos quite by accident while investigationg some other matter and was struck by how un-lion-like the lions were. They are magnificent animals to be sure but not like any lions Iâ€™ve ever seen. Could they be depictions of real creatures-who were not lions?
I did a quick Google search for prehistoric animals with long front legs and immediately was taken to articles about chalicotherium. Articles about chalicotherium also eventually led to articles concerning modern day speculation by cryptozoologists that chalicotherium was a potential match for the Nandi bear, a cryptid that I was unaware of.
The photo at the top of this section shows a very common drawing of the Nandi bear (of unknown source) along with a frontal photo of one of the lions of the Terrace of Lions. This is interesting because as far as I know no one has ever speculated that the “lions” of the Terrace of Lions has anything to do with either the Nandi bear or with chalicotherium. So is this visual similarity (if your filters arenâ€™t preventing you from seeing it or mine forcing me to) just a coincidence?
Chalicotheres are usually depicted as thick, slow and sloth-like and not as fast, relatively slim and dangerous as the lions of Delos seem to appear.
Photo:Comparison of the skeleton of chalicotherium with a Naxian “lion” from the Delos Museum. Note that the face of the Naxian lion shown here has been worn down by weathering and age..
We also remember that last year a scientific journal reported that scientists now believe that due to an error in a formula they have been using that they have overestimated the size of some dinosaurs by as much as 33% to 50%. The size of their bones are known it was the amount of meat the artists were throwing on the bone that is in question. This suggests that certain dinosaurs were depicted as much bulkier animals than they actually were. Could this be true of chalicotherium?
When artists or illustrators depict known animals the variety of the depictions, the form, the poses can be infinite because the real creature can appear in infinite poses and can be seen from infinite angles.
This not the case with unknown creatures. Inevitably, once a depiction of an animal is made (a guess) all other depictions take the shape of the reference depiction (or first few) and there becomes a limited view of the shape of the creature and even the poses that the animal is shown in. This group think about the look of an unknown creature appears to be inevitable. A radical departure from the consensus view of the creature wonâ€™t even be recognized as a depiction of said creature. Ironically an ancient depiction by an eyewitness to the living creature might be rejected because it does not look like the modern, consensus depiction.
Chalicotherium has three toes on each foot ending in claws. Still, the front and back feet are completely different from each other which may provide us some ID possibilities. Are there Nandi bear descriptions of three-toed feet? (By the way lions have five toes in front and four on their back feet).
Here is an antique, eyewitness account of an encounter with the Nandi bear:
“…the whole tent rocked; the pole to which Mbwambi was tied flew out and let down the ridge-pole, enveloping me in flapping canvas. At the same moment the most awful howl I have ever heard split the night. The sheer demoniac horror of it froze me still…I heard my pi-dog yelp just once. There was a crashing of branches in the bush, and then thud, thud, thud, of some huge beast making off. But that howl! I have heard half a dozen lions roaring in a stampede-chorus not twenty yards away; I have heard a maddened cow-elephant trumpeting; I have heard a trapped leopard make the silent night miles a rocking agony with screaming, snarling roars. But never have I heard, nor do I wish to hear again, such a howl as that of the chimiset. A trail of red spots on the sand showed where my pi-dog had gone. Beside that trail were huge footprints, four times as big as a man’s, showing the imprint of three huge clawed toes, with trefoil marks like a lion’s pad where the sole of the foot pressed down. But no lion ever boasted such a paw as that of the monster which had made that terrifying spoor.” Karl Shuker’s Blog
The Nandi bear has been described as having five or six toes in various accounts over the last century as well. I believe that Dale Drinnon who has written extensively on the Nandi bear postulates that the six toed account is assumed to have been where the back feet stepped into an existing three-toed front track.
Various descriptions noted that the animal liked to sit back on its haunches, described it as bear-like (hence the name) having large feet and as being brown in color.
Photo: The interesting foot of the Naxian lion from the Delos Museum compared with the interesting rear foot of the chalicotherium.
Regarding the lions of Delos again; it can be clearly seen from the less damaged statues inside the museum that the lions have three toes on the front feet and very long rear feet, also with three long claws. This superficially at least matches the front feet and rear feet of chalicotherium.
Weâ€™ve shown here additional photographs comparing the feet of chalicotherium with those on the Delos lions-both front and rear as well as a number of photographs comparing the physiology, including the long front legs and sloping back.
Photo:A comparison of the three clawed front foot of chalicotherium with the front feet of the Delos, Naxian Lion.
Iâ€™ve gone back to look at the actual chalicotherium skeleton to see if a depiction of the living creature as long, slim bodied with a sloping back would also have been a realistic way to depict the creature notwithstanding all the thousands of versions of fat chalicos.
Iâ€™ve concluded that the skeleton does lend itself to the Delos, Terrace of Lions, chalicotherium which has closely matching front and back feet, the long front legs and the sloping back of the fossil chalicotherium. (See my admittedly unscientific juxtapostion photo above left.) Even the long hair (mane) of the statues fails to accurately depict the mane of a lion and does remind me of the long hair on certain sloths.
It appears that there is reason to connect the chalicotherium; a creature that supposedly became extinct 5-7 million years ago to the Naxian Lions at Delos. There appears to be some evidence that there is a connection between the Nandi bear of Kenya and Central Africa and the chalicotherium. The elongated bodies of the Naxian lions could be a match for the elongated bodies, and unusual feet of the chalicotherium which could aide in an affirmative identification and prove that chalicotherium was a “late survivor” and could even still be alive.
One More Mystery; Are They Telling the Truth About this Great Monument-or are They Still Lion? Filters On?
Sigiriya (Lion’s rock) Sri Lnkan Mega Site
“In 1831 Major Jonathan Forbes of the 78th Highlanders of the British army, while returning on horseback from a trip to Pollonnuruwa, came across the “bush covered summit of Sigiriya”. Sigiriya came to the attention of antiquarians and, later, archaeologists. Archaeological work at Sigiriya began on a small scale in the 1890s. H.C.P. Bell was the first archaeologist to conduct extensive research on Sigiriya. The Cultural Triangle Project, launched by the Government of Sri Lanka, focused its attention on Sigiriya in 1982. Archaeological work began on the entire city for the first time under this project. There was a sculpted lion’s head above the legs and paws flanking the entrance, but the head broke down many years ago”….Wikipedia
Sigiriya consists of an ancient castle built by King Kasiappan during the 5th century. The Sigiriya site has the remains of an upper palace sited on the flat top of the rock, a mid-level terrace that includes the Lion Gate and the mirror wall with its frescoes, the lower palace that clings to the slopes below the rock, and the moats, walls, and gardens that extend for some hundreds of metres out from the base of the rock.
The site is both a palace and a fortress. Despite its age, the splendor of the palace still furnishes a stunning insight into the ingenuity and creativity of its builders. The upper palace on the top of the rock includes cisterns cut into the rock that still retain water. The moats and walls that surround the lower palace are still exquisitely beautiful.
During Kassapaâ€™s reign in the 5th century AD, a massive, 60-foot lion was chiseled out of the rock. The steps which continued up to the royal palace started at the lionâ€™s feet, wrapped around his body and eventually entered his mouth. Today, all that remain are the paws, but they give a good idea of the statueâ€™s scale. Itâ€™s hard to appreciate how impressive it must have been 1500 years ago. It would be impressive now.
The final flight of stairs, hugging tightly to the stone wall, is not for those who suffer from vertigo…Great Photos as the site of srilanka for 91days.com
Here is the mystery; the lion’s head has fallen down and that years ago. One of the most famous parts of the entire sight is the gigantic “lion’s Paws that begin the assent to the next level. But the paws rendered in great detail, are of a creature with three claws on each foot. Lions have five total claws on each front foot although one claw is a “thumb” that usually does not show in a foot print.
So, did someone take the time and input the engineering to construct a megalithic structure featuring a lion only to get the detail concerning the number of claws wrong? I’m even more amazed that no one seems to be questioning whether or not these are meant to be lionâ€™s paws. People seem content just to accept the ID and to move on to the other incredible features of the site.
At least cryptozoologists ought to be asking about the three-clawed lion–if not biologists.
Seriously, is it even reasonable to suppose that the people who built this great monument intended it to represent a three toed lion? Even beyond the number of claws, go google lion claws, view the images and you will note that notwithstanding the actual number of claws–they are nothing like the claws of a lion. What creature, perhaps lion-like in demeanor could be confused with a depiction of a lion- and have three sharp claws on its front feet?
Well, certain dinosaurs might fit the bill–and of course there is the Naxian lion come chalicotherium….
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