Chinese villagers made dinosaur bone soup

Mmmmmmm tastes like chicken: Dinosaur bone stew. Soup bowl photo by stu spivack at Flickr Creative Commons. Skeletons and composite by Mark Ryan.
Mmmmmmm tastes like chicken: Dinosaur bone stew. Soup bowl photo by stu spivack at Flickr Creative Commons. Skeletons and composite by Mark Ryan.
When paleontologist Dong Zhiming led an expedition into the Henan region of central China to do some serious dinosaur hunting, he didn’t expect it would be as easy as buying groceries at the local market. But that’s exactly where he found a whole lot of dinosaur bones, all being sold for gastronomical or medicinal purposes.

Dong, a professor at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Bejiing, said that villagers thought the bones had special healing powers.

"They had believed that the 'dragon bones' were from the dragons flying in the sky," Dong said.

Rich in calcium, the fossil bones sold as "dragon bones" for about 25 cents a pound, and were boiled with other ingredients to make soup for the sick, or as a paste to plaster on fractures or wounds.

The practice had been going on for at least two decades, Dong added.

But when the villagers learned they were actually dinosaur bones, they donated 440lbs of them to Dong and his colleagues for research.


US News & World Report story

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Mike Walley's picture

Dinosaur bones and other fossils have been used in Chinese medicine for many years. The practice dates back to the Chinese interpreting these fossils as belonging to dragons, many of which were thought to have magical healing properties.

For palaeontologists this practice has had some benefits, although many rare fossils have been destroyed in this way, lots of locals collected and stored specimens and this saved the scientists from doing the excavations. It used to be common practice to explore the local pharmacies in China and Hong Kong to see what you could find. One such German scientist on a visit to a traditional pharmacy in Hong Kong found a fossil tooth (a molar) this led to the discovery of the largest ape known - not King Kong but Gigantopithecus.

We wrote about this in one of our recent blogs.

posted on Fri, 07/13/2007 - 11:48am
Thor's picture
Thor says:

So when you have dragon bone soup, do you end up being hungry again about an hour later?

posted on Mon, 07/16/2007 - 4:21pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

what is dragon bone soup and why would you eat it????????d

posted on Mon, 07/16/2007 - 4:46pm
steve's picture
steve says:

finally dinosaurs resume usefulness after years of being missed in the contruction world during the flinstones era.

posted on Mon, 07/16/2007 - 9:18pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i don't know what dragon bone soup is and i no way would i eat it! gross. plus dragons aren't real, so it wouldn't matter anyway.

posted on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 10:38am
bryan kennedy's picture

I think you guys need to read the article above.

posted on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 12:42pm

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