Some of the great monsters of Greek mythology were invented based upon the observation of dinosaur bones in ancient times, as discovered recently by the brilliant classical folklorist Adrienne Mayor. For instance, the sea monster from which Hercules rescued Hesione was visualized by ancient Greeks who had seen fossils of a Protoceratops skeleton.
And the Giants, huge sons of Mother Earth, who stormed Mount Olympus and fought the gods themselves, were conjured up by sightings of huge fossil thigh bones during the pre-Christian era.
Read more about it in the exciting new book, The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times, by Adrienne Mayor.
(Many of the dinosaur fossils were anciently discovered by Scythian nomads in the Gobi Desert. This region was visited in the 1920's of our era by an American explorer named Roy Chapman Andrews. His accounts of his adventures in these distant lands were so popular that they inspired the "Indiana Jones" movies.)
It was right after he retrieved the belt of an Amazon queen as one of his Labors that Hercules rescued Hesione. Read the account in Apollodorus.
From the New York Times business section, April 21, 2000: "In their conference call with securities analysts, Microsoft executives took an at-times defensive, at-times defiant tone, at one point quoting Perseus, to the effect that 'he conquers who endures'."
Greek history in the news: Ashes of Athenian heroes from the time of Pericles.