By Phil Eyden, 2004
Before the mid eighteenth century the origin of fossils was generally regarded in terms of superstition and myth. Many differing accounts across different cultures explained how these fossils came to be and interesting folklore traditions developed regarding these stones. Frequently fossils were ascribed to have magical or medicinal properties. Here is a quick look at some of the better known and some of the more obscure folklore traditions regarding cephalopod fossils.
Probably the most famous story
about ammonites is the origin of their name. The distinctive coiling of the
shell suggested to the ancient Greeks a resemblance to the coiled horns of the
ram, they were regarded with special sacred significance due to the Ram-god Ammon
who had been adopted from the earlier Egyptian oracle-god Amun.
Specimens were known as Cornu Ammonis, or literally 'Horns of Ammon',
eventually passing into scientific terminology as ammonites. In
Cephalopod Fossils: Myths and Legends
History has regarded cephalopod fossils in interesting ways...