Legends has always fascinated humankind, and our world is full of mysterious creatures, from the famous Bigfoot all the way to the beautiful Mermaids. But where exactly did their legends came from? It is time you find out their origins. I did the best research that i could and wrote this article to educate people, so i hope you enjoy reading about it. Dont forget to comment and upvote if you can.
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Cyclops, in Greek mythology, were immortal giants with one eye right in the middle of their foreheads who, according to the hymn of Callimachus, worked with Hephaestus as blacksmiths, forging even the rays used by Zeus. But where did they come from? This myth was probably born from that skull you see in the photo.
Seeing like that, it kind does really look like a giant creature that had only one eye, doesn’t it? But this skull was nothing mysterious, it belongs to a prehistoric pygmy elephant, and the “eye” in the middle of the head is the place for the animal’s trunk.
Most likely, our Greek ancestors saw these skulls and thought they were something else, thus creating the legend of the Cyclops.
Bigfoot, Yeti and Sasquatch
Ieti and his cousin Bigfoot are described as giant, furry beings, who live in mountains and almost never bother humans, both became more famous for the fact that they were never found than for actual scientific evidence, but they also have an origin.
Meet Gigantopithecus, an extinct primate that lived in the Pleistocene, approximately between 5 million and 100 thousand years ago, in China, India and Vietnam, inhabiting a region and time similar to those of the first hominids, such as Homo erectus.
That’s right folks, our ancestors coexisted with this giant primate that had 3 meters (9’8 feet) of height and weighted 500 kg (1.100 pounds). Now imagine that you are a caveman, who is used to seeing only people like you, and one day, while out hunting, you are faced with this giant being that was similar to you but much bigger, of course you would tell everyone you knew. It was probably the memories of that being that inspired the modern stories of the Ieti, Bigfoot and Sasquatch.
Mermaids are beeings half fish and half women, they usually appeared to sailors, bewitching them with their beauty and then drowning and devouring them. But just like Cyclops, their origin comes from an existing animal, one that may not be as sexy as they are.
The mermaid myth probably originated thanks to animals like seals and the manatee, sailors saw these animals and, probably because of heat stroke and alcoholic beverages, they thought they were half human and half fish sea monsters. The legend spread and the mermaids became more and more beautiful and less like their “relatives”.
In 1493, on the first of Christopher Columbus’ expeditions, he reported seeing mermaids, when in fact he was making the first scientific record of manatees in North America.
The unicorn is an animal that is shaped like a horse, usually white, with a single horn on its forehead, they are usually gentil creatures, especially with women. And if you think that horses gave rise to this myth, you are very mistaken.
Meet the Elasmotherium sibiricum, also called the Siberian unicorn or great horned rhinoceros, this creature lived 200,000 years ago during the Pleistocene, and it was actually a close relative of current rhinos, but it was three times bigger and its horn it could reach almost 2 meters (6’5 feet) in length.
It was this creature that gave rise to the modern myth of the unicorn, according to the Swedish encyclopedia “Nordisk familjebok”, published from 1876 to 1957, and also with the scientist Willy Ley, the animal may have survived long enough to be remembered in myths by humans, myths that still exist today.
The Kraken was a species of giant octopus, which destroyed ships in Nordic folklore, the creature was the size of an island and had a hundred tentacles. Believed to inhabit the deep waters of the Norwegian Sea, where no one could see it until it was too late.
The Kraken stories even had a certain scientific basis, the animal was inspired by giant squids and colossal squids, these creatures are not the size of an island or have a hundred tentacles, but can reach up to 18 meters (59 feet) and are even capable of fighting whales to defend themselves.
Vampires are beings that feed on the blood and body of humans, normally they are monsters, but they can even look like a normal (and usually sexy) person. But in the end, of course, they’re just legends, aren’t they? Only this one is the fault of humans.
The vampire myth is believed to have been inspired by brutal deaths, often murders. What happened was that our ancestors simply refused to believe that a person could be that cruel, so they started to invent monsters and said that they did it.
Another explanation, given in the book “Vampires, Burial and Death”, says that the myth was also influenced by decomposing bodies, this at a time when human beings did not know what decomposition was, everything they saw then was a corpse very different from a normal person, a real monster.
Griffins are legendary winged creatures with an eagle’s head and wings, and a lion’s body. It is said they made their nests out of pure gold and their eggs were actually rare jewels. Unfortunately, however, no one has ever really seen one of them, much less taken their treasures. So where did Griffins come from?
Like some of its other “relatives” in mythology, griffins probably came from dinosaurs, but what happened is that our ancestors found the remains of a Protoceratops, a small dinosaur that had a beak.
So where did the love for gold come from? It is possible that some of these fossils were found by miners in the Gobi Desert, so if the animal was living close to gold, it is because it should love gold right? At least, that was the explanation our ancestors found.
In Greek mythology, the centaur is a creature with the head, arms and back of a human being and with the body and legs of a horse, and his myth came from both humans and horses.
The most accepted theory is that the centaur myth came from the reaction of a culture that did not have horses, seeing men riding the animal for the first time in their lives. The Aztecs also had this misunderstanding about Spanish knights when they first saw them mounted on those animals.
Dragons are giant, scaly beings that often control fire, they are very common in legends of Asian and European culture, their name comes from the Greek term “drákōn” and is used to define large snakes. And like many others on this list, his “creation” was nothing but a big confusion.
Most likely, our ancestors found dinosaur bones, and, without knowing what dinosaurs were, they went on to invent legends to explain those giant bones, this included the legends of giant serpents, which ended up giving rise to the legends of modern dragons.
The phoenix would be a firebird from Greek mythology that, when it died, entered a process of self-combustion and, after some time, resurfaced from the ashes themselves.
The bird may actually have been inspired by another mythological being, Bennu, a legendary bird in Egyptian mythology, who was considered the soul of the Sun. According to legend, it was born with the creation of the world.
The Bennu (and consequently the Phoenix) was inspired on the extinct Bennu Heron, who lived in the current United Arab Emirates in 3,500 B.C. It was probably the largest heron that ever existed.
A werewolf is a being half wolf and half human, he often feeds on human flesh, especially of those who try to venture into their territory.
Just as vampires, werewolves were invented to try to explain brutal deaths, some even think that “vampires” and “werewolves” may have been some of the first serial killers and cannibals that ever existed.
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