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artemis5200's avatar

Dragon, Real or Mythical?

Asked by artemis5200 (139points) April 23rd, 2010
43 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

Dragons are represented in art in several cultures. My thoughts of fancy take me to believing that they must have once existed. What do you think?

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netgrrl's avatar

I think the idea of a flying, fire-breathing dragon is a myth. But it’s quite possible that some sort of creature could have existed at some point to give birth to the myth. They discover fossils of new creatures all the time.

jackm's avatar


Ghost, vampires, gods, etc are represented in art across cultures but they have no basis in reality either.

We all seem to be fascinated by the same things..

martyjacobs's avatar

Hmmm, depends on your definition of a Dragon and what you consider to be “real”. The fact that they’ve reached mythical status in the public conscience makes them real on one level.

Dinosaurs are Dragon-like and there is enough scientific evidence to prove they existed. However, I don’t think that there is any solid scientific evidence that a Dragon, as most people imagine them, ever existed.

Blackberry's avatar

Myth. Although you can believe in dinosaurs, we have their bones :)

Qingu's avatar


And, frankly, boring compared to actual, non-imaginary animals.

Qingu's avatar

Also, dinosaurs existed millions of years before the earliest legends of dragons. Dragons have much more common with “composite creatures,” such as the sphinx, the lamassu, the chimera, Pegasus, etc.

marinelife's avatar

Dragons did not ever exist. They are alive in our minds though.

KatawaGrey's avatar

The magical ideas of dragons are myth, definitely, but the idea of a large winged lizard doesn’t seem that far fetched to me.

rebbel's avatar

There is of course the Comodo Dragon which is real.

Rarebear's avatar

Absolutely real. I actually was almost killed by one in a Dungeons and Dragons game I played—fortunately I had fire resistance cast and was able to shape change and cast a concealment spell.

gorillapaws's avatar

If you were an ancient farmer and stumbled across the fossilized remains of a massive skull what would you think it is? I think this is possibly the origin of many of these cross-cultural mythical creatures.

DarkScribe's avatar

Christians should believe in Dragons, they exist according to the Bible.

Draconess25's avatar

100% real.

People believe in God, & they have no clue what he looks like. At least mankind has an idea of what dragons might’ve looked like! Hell, for all we know, they can still exist. Maybe on distant planets, in distant galaxies. Or even within our own Sun!

Never say never!

Or better yet, do say never! Then the surprise will have more of an effect!

shego's avatar

I think they are real. Not only because I believe in fairies, but the dinosaurs existed didn’t they? For all we know, the paleontologist’s named a dinosaur wrong, or maybe they haven’t been discovered yet.
I’m prettty sure Donkey is the father.

Qingu's avatar

@Draconess25, dragons could not exist in the sun; the organic molecules that make up their bodies would be torn apart.

Also, the fact that people believe in God isn’t a reason to believe in dragons. Gods are also made up.

Draconess25's avatar

@Qingu See? People don’t consider that their bodies could adapt. Sure, at the core they would be incinerated beyond ashes. But near the surface, thousands of degrees would be nothing to them! But that’s only the fire-breathing dragons. What about those that live in the depths of the ocean? Or the vacuum of space? I don’t see why dragons are so hard to believe in! Everything about them can be logically explained!

gorillapaws's avatar

@Qingu so do you believe that anything we can think of actually exists in this reality e.g. microscopic German ass-pirate smurfs who live only in the colons of elvish princes that haven’t received their annual anti- German ass-pirate smurf vaccine? Do you really think they exist because I was able to mentally conjure up something so ridiculous?

Draconess25's avatar

@gorillapaws Hey, who knows! It would explain why my last boyfriend had the runs for a while! But then again, I don’t believe in vaccines….

gorillapaws's avatar

@Draconess25 so you believe in dragons living in the sun but not vaccines? Do you believe in Polio?

Draconess25's avatar

@gorillapaws I believe vaccines exist, you ignorant twit! They go against my beliefs! And I know polio exists! If all you moronic humans weren’t polluting your bodies with all these chemicals, you wouldn’t be so weak against disease & injury!

DarkScribe's avatar

@Draconess25 Everything about them can be logically explained!

Explain why a creature that can fly and breathe fire can be slain by a knight on horseback? Are they a bit “slow”?

gorillapaws's avatar

@Draconess25 what about babies that haven’t polluted their bodies with “all these chemicals?” Why do they get sick? And why did people still get sick and die hundreds of years ago before “all these chemicals” were invented? Do dragons have their bodies poluted by “all these chemicals,” or are they immune?

DarkScribe's avatar

@Draconess25 _I believe vaccines exist, ... They go against my beliefs! _

Not only yours it seems. One of today’s headlines.

Draconess25's avatar

@DarkScribe 1: Not all can fly & breathe fire.
2: I never said they were fast or intelligent. The only thing they have going for them speed-wise is momentum.
@gorillapaws Chemicals their parents put in their bodies, vaccines after birth….And throughout hisrory, humanity was relatively healthy. It wasn’t until they got overpopulated (& thus unhygienic) that they started getting sicker & sicker. Chemicals don’t need to be invented. They can be produced by decaying matter in the streets.

Sure, humans have a longer life expectancy. But who said it was a healthy life? Take away life-support. Even if your heart is still beating, you might as well be dead.Once again, the world is too crowded. And once again, society will fail…..

DarkScribe's avatar

@Draconess25 Not all can fly & breathe fire.

If they can’t fly and breath fire then they are just reptiles. Like this guy.

I have seen a few of them over the years. Pretty big, but not at all uncommon. (At least he is a “real” dragon.)

Draconess25's avatar

@DarkScribe Not all. Most of those breeds of dragons are dying out or are already extinct. And yes, they are just another reptile, most likely related to crocodiles & such.

By the way, What’s that a picture of? It’s adorable!

DarkScribe's avatar

@Draconess25 By the way, What’s that a picture of? It’s adorable!

It is a Komodo Dragon.

If you want one for a pet, better have a lot of full grown deer about to feed it.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Draconess25 My friend with a B.S. in reptilian beasts from Hogwarts said you’ve got your facts mixed up.

Draconess25's avatar

@DarkScribe You’re allowed to keep tham as pets? But that would be considered slavery for me….
@gorillapaws Hogwarts isn’t real! But it would be awesome is it was!

DarkScribe's avatar

@Draconess25 You’re allowed to keep tham as pets? But that would be considered slavery for me….

Not legally, they are capable of eating people – but you can keep the Monitor Lizards which are nearly as big.


When I was a kid the local Aborigines used to eat them.

Draconess25's avatar

@DarkScribe Yay! Heheheh….not legally! I love reptiles! I even held an anaconda once! Her owner said she might bite me, but she only licked my ear. But she bit the next person that held her!

Qingu's avatar

@Draconess25, you seem to have a pretty arbitrary conception of reality.

Here’s the thing. Reality actually follows laws. Those laws may seem depressing, because they imply that things like dragons actually are imaginary. And I realize that people like you probably have an emotional need to believe in such things.

However—the laws of reality are fascinating. Go to my first post in the thread and click on the link. It will take you to a page about siphonophores, colonial jellyfish that form these huge glow-in-the-dark “bodies,” like a moving city of jellyfish that acts as a single organism.

Here’s a video of one.

Siphonophores obey the laws of reality. They are in fact fragile creatures. They can’t exist on the sun—they’re not “magical.” They can’t even exist out of water. If you get too close, they’ll scatter. If you try to bring them up to the surface, they’ll disintegrate.

But they aren’t imaginary. We know how they evolved. We know how they eat and survive.

And they are more amazing, more beautiful, more mysterious, and certainly more “original” and “creative” than the imaginary dragons you believe in. A dragon is just a mish-mash of creatures that early humans were familiar with. But who could have ever dreamed of a siphonophore!

The creatures of the real world are much more fascinating and surprising than dragons.

Qingu's avatar

Also, though this is a tangent

“And throughout hisrory, humanity was relatively healthy.”

This is just absolutely false. The life expectancy for humans “throughout history” was about 30 years. Mothers often died during childbirth. Children often died through disease, malnutrition, or both. If you seriously believe that humans were “healthier” before the advent of vaccines and modern medicine, you are grossly misinformed, and I hope you don’t apply your beliefs to any children you might have.

Draconess25's avatar

@Qingu So you’re implying that I’m nuts, & that I have ”emotional reasons” for what I believe in? My counselor tried to feed me that bullshit in 7th grade! If I didn’t take it then, what makes you think that I will now? Fuck this shit, I’m outta here!

Qingu's avatar

I’m frankly not sure what other possible reasons there are to believe in dragons, seeing as there’s absolutely no evidence they exist, they are clearly a fictional/mythological creation, and nobody is even seriously proposing they exist in the first place. But I’m sorry if I offended you.

DarkScribe's avatar

The Bible says that Dragons, Witches, and Unicorns exist and yet people who claim to be Christians and believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God will deny that and yet believe that Jesus walked on water and turned water into wine. Very selective attitude to faith it would seem.

I’ll believe in Dragons and Unicorns before pregnant virgins.

mattbrowne's avatar

Perhaps a rare reptile that went extinct 3000 years ago. Then it turned into a myth.

Rarebear's avatar

@mattbrowne Then there should be fossil evidence.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Rarebear – Yes, I agree. But I’m not an expert on reptilian fossils. The mammoth got extinct around this time but this was on a Siberian island. There are many pictures of mammoths in prehistoric caves, recording earlier encounters of humans with them. I think it’s quite plausible something similar happened with other animals as well. In this case perhaps triggered oral traditions about ancient beasts, eventually called dragons.

Qingu's avatar

Medieval bestiaries actually show dragons as existing.

They include real animals and obviously mythological creatures, often mixing elements of the two. Here’s the dragon entry.

But a lot of the animals in this bestiary would seem to cloistered European monks or peasants just as “legendary” as winged serpents. I mean, look at the entry for hyenas. Sex-changing beasts that eat corpses and have magic stones in their eyes that can tell the future.

mattbrowne's avatar

Very interesting link. In addition to the possibility of recently extinct species, there are also rare or very shy species with very few sightings by humans. When they occurred oral traditions could have been greatly inspired. One thing that puzzles me about dragons though is their breathing fire.

Nullo's avatar

I always thought that dinosaurs, either alive or in pieces, would be behind them. @Qingu neglects the fact that dragons are not limited to medieval Europe or even Christendom, appearing, as they do, in Asia.
Biblically we have the Leviathan and the Behemoth, two large and powerful creatures that don’t really sound like the crocodiles or hippopotamuses that some say that they were.

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