A popular symbol for rebirth, the legendary Phoenix has made its way into many books and movies throughout the world. While most of its legends are based on Greek and Roman culture, there are other cultures with similar creatures.
From Egypt to Persia, Russia to China, many cultures have some version of a bird-like animal reminiscent of the Greek Phoenix. While they don’t all have the exact same things in common, what if some of the unique characteristics between birds from different places complement each other? What if together these different cultural aspects of this bird point to an amazing—but entirely real—biological phenomenon? What if there really was a species of bird that was “reborn from it’s ashes?”
Let’s take a quick look at a few Phoenix-like legends from around the world, then we’ll dive into the details of the Greek and Roman Phoenix and the exciting scientific possibilities they point to together.
Similar to the Greek Phoenix, the Egyptian “Bennu” is also a symbol of rebirth and sacrifice. The tallest and most heron-like of our Phoenix-esque creatures, the Bennu had red and gold plumage with two long feathers on his head. He was considered the heart and soul of Ra, the Egyptian sun god who was reborn every day after sailing across the sky as the sun.