Origin of Mythical Dragons

Dragons and Beasts Live

Origin of Mythical Dragons

21 October 2021

Dragons are everywhere. From children’s plays and movies to storybooks and folklore, there’s just no escaping these shape-shifting, fire-breathing, princess guarding beasts. But where did dragons come from? And why are they such a big deal today? Let’s look at several things that could have inspired the whole dragon myth.

Dinosaur Fossils and an Overactive Imagination

Dragons are often talked about as if they’re real. And there’s a good explanation for this. It’s thought that ancient people may have discovered dinosaur fossils and believed them to be the remains of dragon-like creatures with huge limbs and sharp teeth. The stegosaurus, for example, averaged 9 metres in length and were around 4 metres tall. Their bodies were also covered in armoured plates and spikes which would have been pretty mesmerising to see. With this in mind, it’s not hard to see how to image of a dragon started to take shape.

Lizard-Like Creatures that Still Exist Today

Look at some of the creatures that exist today. Some are so amazing that’s it’s hard to believe they’re actually real. Rhinos, for instance, look very much like grumpy old dinosaurs, whereas lizards such as the goanna might have inspired today’s dragon stories. These large, predatory creatures have razor-sharp teeth and claws and are not dissimilar from some of the dragons that appear in fairy-tales. There’s even a lizard called a bearded dragon, which could have been used to inspire stories around bigger, scalier creatures with super strong tales and red hot breath.

Many scientists also believe that the dragon myth came from human encounters with crocodiles, particularly the Nile crocodile, which is the biggest of all crocodile species. When you look at crocodiles with their huge teeth, green scales and narrow eyes it’s easy to see how stories of similar creatures started to take shape. 

The Human Mind

Human beings are very creative. We love telling stories and exaggerating facts to get a reaction. We often use concepts we’re familiar with such as animals we’ve seen or dinosaurs we’ve learn about and elaborate to create a new fantasy world. If pterodactyls once dominated the skies, why couldn’t fire-breathing dragons have done the same thing? The idea is super cool and can be used to inspire family theatre shows or night time stories.

Dragon powers have also evolved over time, with different storytellers adding different facts into their tales. While some breathe fire and can smash down towers with a single slap of their tails, others turn into other animals or take on human form. We definitely have to give some credit to the human mind for just how awesome dragons actually are.

Remember too that many folklore stories about dragons were never written down. This means that when the stories were retold, many of the details were changed or tweaked to become even more adventurous and exciting.

If you love everything about dragons and are looking for children’s shows in Norwich, don’t miss the spectacular Dragons and Mythical Beasts tour featuring realistic puppetry live on stage. Fresh from the West End, this show is a smash-hit and great for the whole family.

Origin of Mythical Dragons

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