Fossil 'dragon' teeth used for medicinal purposes

Fossil 'dragon' teeth used for medicinal purposes

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Credit: JOHN READER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Fossil 'dragons' teeth bought by Ralph von Koenigswald, a German palaeontologist, in Chinese drugstores in the early part of the twentieth century. 'Dragon' bones and teeth, which comprised fossils from many different animal species, were thought by the Chinese to hold medicinal properties. They were ground down and according to recipes such as the one in the background here, were used as medicines. The first western awareness of the existence of fossils in China came through the exploration of these drugstore collections. It lead on to the discovery of hominid fossils known as Peking Man. The two small teeth seen here at top are hominid teeth.

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Keywords: anthropology, china, chinese, chinese fossils, chinese medicine, chinese traditional medicine, dragon teet, dragon teeth, fossil, fossil man, hominid, hominids, hominin, medicine, palaeoanthropology, palaeontology, paleoanthropology, paleontology, peking man, traditional medicine

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