Marco Polo in China

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Marco Polo in China - Dinosaurs?

The following is from our book, "A Beginner's Guide to Tracking Dinosaurs."

Would dinosaur meat be good to eat? There are no dinosaurs around today, but we do have a historical record that might help answer this question. In the year 1271, a Venetian (Italian) merchant named Marco Polo traveled to China with his father and uncle. He stayed in China for 24 years serving as a tax collector for Kublai Khan and traveling throughout China. After returning to Europe, he published an account of his time in China called, “The Travels of Marco Polo.” In that book he describes a creature that appears to be a dinosaur:

"Here are seen huge serpents, ten paces in length, and ten spans in the girt of the body. At the fore part, near the head, they have two short legs, having three claws like those of a tiger, with eyes larger than a fourpenny loaf (pane da quattro denari) and very glaring. The jaws are wide enough to swallow a man, the teeth are large and sharp, and their whole appearance is so formidable, that neither man, nor any kind of animal, can approach them without terror.

"Others are met with of a smaller size, being eight, six, or five paces long; and the following method is used for taking them. In the daytime, by reason of the great heat, they lurk in caverns, from whence, at night, they issue to seek their food, and whatever beast they meet with and can lay hold of, whether tiger, wolf, or any other, they devour; after which they drag themselves towards some lake, spring of water, or river, in order to drink.

"By their motion in this way along the shore, and their vast weight, they make a deep impression, as if a heavy beam had been drawn along the sands.

"Those whose employment it is to hunt them observe the track by which they are most frequently accustomed to go, and fix into the ground several pieces of wood, armed with sharp iron spikes, which they cover with the sand in such a manner as not to be perceptible. When therefore the animals make their way towards the places they usually haunt, they are wounded by these instruments, and speedily killed.

"..The flesh also of the animal is sold at a dear rate, being thought to have a higher flavour than other kinds of meat, and by all per-sons it is esteemed a delicacy."-- Travels of Marco Polo

This seems like a description of what we now call a dinosaur. It's size is about 100 feet long with a girth of about nine feet. What's odd is that it is described as dragging its body on along the ground. We do not see traces of such an animal in the fossil record. And does it only "drag itself" after eating (stuffing its belly) or all of the time? There is not enough detail in Polo's description. Polo does not seem to be embellished and his description matches other descriptions of dragons. This appears to be a dinosaur-like creature for which we have not yet found the fossil evidence, or possibly we have not recognized that we have found it.

The answer to our question is, it appears that dinosaur meat was not only good to eat, it was an expensive delicacy.

More Information

Dragon Encounters at the ICR Discovery Center (ICR)

Marco Polo’s Dragons (AP)


headlights coming

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Trust Jesus. Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. - Acts 16:31