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19672Re: [mythsoc] . . . not on topic

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  • John D Rateliff
    Apr 11, 2008
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      On Apr 11, 2008, at 11:21 AM, David Emerson wrote:
      >> ... de Camp asked Tolkien why, if it was based on Europe many
      >> thousands of years ago, his Middle-earth lacked the megafauna of
      >> that era.
      > Does the oliphaunt fall under the category of "megafauna"?

      Yes indeed; it's clearly both some form of mastodon or mammoth AND
      the beastiary elephant at one and the same time. But it's clearly
      long since vanished from the North-West, remembered only from
      traveller's tales like Sam's rhyme.
      It's worth pointing out, though, that de Camp seems to forget
      about the wolves, which can get pretty big (especially in Middle-
      earth!). And of course if we include The Hobbit we get huge bears as
      well. But most of the lands the Fellowship crosses seem to lack
      anything bigger than a fox, which is entirely appropriate to England
      in the last century or so but not like the older world; I assume from
      all the bear-baiting that there were still wild bears in England in
      Shakespeare's time, and wolves lasted until sometime in the medieval
      era (both are certainly well-represented in the continental folk-
      tales of the Grimms and Perrault).
      --JDR
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