In one ancient legend a mammoth is called “a big bull”. He struggled with dragons which invaded the Earth devouring every leaving creature. When the battle was over and the big bull was left alone, being wounded, he made a large leap, skipped over the Pyrenees and escaped in the far-off lands. So it can be interpreted that mammoths migrated to the north.
When people in the ancient world dug out gigantic bones they presumed that these were remains of the Trojan War heroes. Later on in the Middle Ages and up to the 19th century mammoth bones were taken for remains of giants from the Bible who died in the Flood.
Naturally, these bones belonged to entirely different creatures … mammoths!
A fragment of a mammoth thighbone found in the Pyrenees and kept in St George’s Abbey is considered to be the bone of St Geordie, father of Guifre el Pilos, who killed the dragon at the Mon Blanc gates. Guifre el Pilos was born in the Pyrenees, and it was he who unified Catalonia lands under one flag. There was good reason why he got his nickname Pilos. As folk epos says, “all his body was covered with thick hair. There was hair even on his heels. And he was as big as a mammoth.” In Valencia a mammoth tooth was worshiped as a piece of St Christopher’s hallows, and in 1789 St Vincent’s canons wore mammoth thighbones at religious processions and passed it off as a part of the saint’s arm.
In villages at the bottom of the Pyrenees there are holidays when the locals seat against each other, put on costumes and arrange parades where they imitate their big ancestors. From high antiquity times on people have been interested in their origin. Attempts to understand and explain how a man appeared can be found in many religions, legends and myths of different peoples. Mankind has been restlessly trying to find traces of the millenary as well as the millioned past. Character features and mentality of a particular group of people have much in common with some image of an animal. So whom do we descend from?
One of interpretations of the word “mammoth” is a ground mole. This name stems from one Catalonia legend. Long time ago in the ancient land Meseta in the valley of the rivers Tagus and Ebro there lived Iberian people. They pastured mighty “deers” and then passed deep into the earth. They still leave there and pasture their underground “deers” which stroll under the moonlight on the ground. God forbid if deers take a look at the sun, they will die right away. These deers are mammoths of course. And fossils that men found on the ground were treated as fossils of deers that had died after glancing at the sun.
Apart from this legend there also appeared fables about mighty giants. They fought with dragons, monsters that poisoned water, caused severe damage and famine and devoured people. These giants were called “Cosses”. They were described as people of an incredible strength. Mammoth fossils were perceived as their remains. Especially the skulls that, if taken without tusks, remind those of giants. In Europe Cosses were honored as fighters against the evil, sometimes they were even sanctified.
The time when mammoths lived coincides with the time of homo sapiens. It is proved that mammoths are descended from elephants. And you can guess where this evolution took place. The closest point to Africa is Iberian Peninsula. Remains of these giants are still found there, in the same place where homo sapiens traces were discovered.
Will you ask when it happened?The answer is two million years ago!