Myths monsters and men

These days it’s easy to sniff at ‘old wives tales’. We think the old myths and legends are just superstitions for old people, from dwarves through to tokoloshes.
However, these stories have elements of science, says Dr Francois Durand, senior lecturer at the Department of Zoo​logy, University of Johannesburg.​

“Dragons are good examples. In Norway there is a folk story about a hero of old that conquered a mighty dragon. In the ancient Norse religion, there is the figure of the Earth Serpent, curled up around the world. In Asia, temples and many everyday objects are decorated with pictures of dragons,” says Durand.

“So there is a reason dragons look like some dinosaurs from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Tyrannosaurus rex andAllosaurus lived in what we know as Asia, Europe and Northern Africa today.”

Hear more about dragons, and where many mythical creatures like dwarves and fairies came from, on Wednesday 18 February 1pm to 2pm at the Sanlam Auditorium at the Auckland Park Campus of the University of Johannesburg. Dr Durand will be giving a public lecture titled “Monsters, myths and men” tracing the links between the stories and the science.

Durand’s research focuses on the effects of mine effluent on ecology, cave ecology and the origin of mammals. He received the 2014 UJ Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Award for Teaching Excellence.

WHEN: Wednesday 18 February 1pm to 2pm

WHERE: Sanlam Auditorium at the Auckland Park Campus of the University of Johannesburg.

NOTE: This lecture is not suitable for persons under 18 due to its explicit and graphic nature.


CAMPUS MAP: The auditorium is close to the Student Centre. D parking is the closest.


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