Dragons are creatures that have been a part of man’s storytelling from generation to generation, such as in Beowulf, the Völsunga saga, “Saint George and the Dragon,” and even the book of Revelation. Dragons are magnificent beasts that can be as frightening as Smaug within The Hobbit, or as adorable as Toothless within Dreamwork’s, How to Train Your Dragon. For some reason, dragons have fascinated man for a long, long time. However, is it because we love to imagine such creatures within our realms of fantasy? Or perhaps, is it because we are fascinated with these strange creatures, that may have once walked upon our sod?
1. One support for the possible existence of dragons, is the legends of these beasts found around the globe. Everywhere from Europe, to China, to Africa, to Native American tribes in America, virtually every culture has its own myth concerning dragons. Cultures that were once oceans apart, with no known contact with one another.
Possibly, each culture has these myths, because as man, we share a similar form of imagination? Or maybe because somehow the stories of a fire-breathing lizard with batwings circulated from culture to culture? Or perhaps every culture has their own dragon legend, because our ancestors actually witnessed dragons with their own two eyes and then recorded what they had seen?
However, though each nation has their own myths of these creatures, their views of dragons do differ from region to region. Such as the Europeans depicted these reptiles as monsters that terrorized their cities and ate their livestock, while the Chinese have depicted dragons as symbols of good luck and fortune. (Another contrast between these two dragons, is how Europeans usually drew their dragons with wings, while the Chinese would illustrate theirs as more snakelike and wingless.)
2. Another support for dragons, is that it’s actually not too fantastical or outlandish to imagine animals with the capability to breathe fire. For example, the electric eel has the capability to produce 860 watts of electricity for two milliseconds, the spitting cobra can eject venom from out of its mouth at distances up to 6.6ft., and the bombardier beetle can release a small chemical explosion from out its abdomen. There are also many other animals with special abilities (like the Jesus Lizard, which has the capability to run on water (https://lestark1.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/our-amazing-creator-part-iii/)), that can be categorized as bizarre or unbelievable if they weren’t observed. Therefore, is it so farfetched to believe that an animal could somehow produce fire, if they truly had the ability to do so?
His sneezings flash forth light,
and his eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn.
Out of his mouth go flaming torches;
sparks of fire leap forth.
Out of his nostrils comes forth smoke,
as from a boiling pot and burning rushes.
His breath kindles coals,
and a flame comes forth from his mouth (Job 41:18-21). [Though we don’t know exactly what type of animal the Levithan was, the Bible does seem to suggest that a creature with the ability to breathe fire did exist.]
3. One last support in the defense that dragons may have actually lived, is the evidence we already possess of the giant lizard-like animals that once walked this planet–dinosaurs. The word “Dinosauria” (“terrible lizard”) itself, wasn’t coined until 1841 by the paleontologist Sir Richard Owen. However, the word “dragon” (or at least “drakon” or “lóng”) has been around much longer. Therefore, what if what we call “dinosaurs,” were what our ancestors referred to as “dragons”?
These are but three arguments which have been used within the debate if dragons are real or mythical. A debate that many more essays and books have been written about if you would like to research more on this topic. That is, if you’re curious to see if dragons are truly a part of our history, or if they are only beasts of pop culture and legend.