Origin and evolution of dragon myths in various cultures

Origin and evolution of dragon myths in various cultures
18 March 2024 J.W.H

Dragons are mythical creatures that appear in legends and folklore world wide. They are sometimes depicted as large, reptilian beasts with wings, horns, claws, and fire breath. But why achieve this many various cultures have stories about dragons despite the fact that they never actually existed?

One possible explanation is that ancient people misinterpreted fossils of extinct animals corresponding to dinosaurs and imagined them as living monsters.

Adrienne Mayor, classical folklorist and historian of ancient science at Stanford University, he argued that that is how the parable of the griffin, a hybrid of a lion and an eagle, was created. He suggests that individuals in Central Asia encountered skeletons of Protoceratops, a dinosaur with a beak and frill, and gave them a mythical identity.

Similarly, individuals who found the bones of Tyrannosaurus rex or other large predators could have imagined them as dragons. This may explain why some dragon myths include details that resemble paleontological facts, corresponding to the presence of scales, teeth, and claws.

Another possible explanation is that dragons are an archetype reflecting the human instinct to fear dangerous predators.

In his book Dragon instinctanthropologist David E. Jones argues that humans have evolved to acknowledge and avoid certain features that signal danger, corresponding to sharp teeth, long tails, and piercing eyes. He proposes that the dragon is a composite of those features, combining elements of crocodiles, snakes, birds of prey and enormous cats.

According to Jones, the dragon archetype is embedded within the human subconscious and emerges in dreams and fantasies. He argues that that is why dragon myths are so widespread and enduring across cultures and time periods.

However, not all dragon myths are the identical. Different cultures have given their dragons different meanings and roles, depending on the historical and environmental context.

For example, in Europe, dragons were often seen as evil creatures that hoarded treasure and terrorized people. Many stories told of heroes slaying dragons to prove their courage and virtue.

And in East Asia, dragons were often seen as benevolent creatures that symbolized power, strength and happiness. They were related to water, rain and fertility and were revered as guardians of heaven and earth. Some stories told of how humans befriended and even married dragons to realize their favor and wisdom.

In Mesoamerica, dragons were also related to water and creation. One of probably the most distinguished deities was Quetzalcoatl, a feathered serpent who was believed to have created humans from his own blood. He was also the god of wind, science and civilization.

These examples show that dragon myths are usually not only a product of human imagination, but additionally a mirrored image of human culture. They reveal how people tried to make sense of their world and their place in it by creating stories about unbelievable creatures that embodied their hopes and fears.

Is there any evidence that dragons exist?

The answer to this query depends entirely in your standpoint. There isn’t any scientific evidence to suggest that dragons existed as they’re commonly depicted in mythology and fiction, with wings and the flexibility to breathe fire. However, many cultures have myths and legends about dragons which will have been based on real animals or events which have turn into exaggerated over time.

Novelist Ryan S. Kinsgrove, who has been exploring the dragon theme for 17 years, explain then this manner:

“I think it's entirely possible that there is some form of mythological dragon. This is not based on hard evidence, but on how little we know about the world. Only about 5% of the ocean floor has been mapped. The ocean covers 70% of the Earth's surface. So who said that there is no creature that fits the description of the mythological dragon.

“Another possibility is that they existed but became extinct. Where is the evidence? We have dinosaur bones everywhere, but nothing that looks like a dragon. Where is the evidence? We're looking in the wrong place. Antarctica is the fifth largest continent in the world, covered with ice 2.2 km thick. What we know about Antarctica is as old as the oceans. We don't know what's hiding under the ice. We probably won't do it in our lifetime, but one day we will discover a completely different world on this continent.”

Existing in the metaphysical

“You have to believe in a few different things in this case,” Kinsgrove says.

“Metaphysical, of course. This belief includes, but is not limited to: God, gods and goddesses, angels, the afterlife, whether in heaven or hell or one of the other interpretations, reincarnation, past lives, and a host of other things.

How do dragons fit into this?

“Once upon a time, dragons were living, breathing beings, worshiped as gods and just as powerful. But some misfortune happened that destroyed the dragons. Their magical essence remained. These dragon spirits (for lack of a better term) saw humans as a way to potentially resurrect their race.

“They bonded their being with a human soul and laid an egg in that soul. They knew that the eggs would never hatch in a single human's lifetime, but if they had a hundred or a thousand human incarnations, they would grow and mature and hatch, and if that human was ready and willing, the dragon could manifest and become real again.

“So the dragons' souls remained with the people their egg was bonded to. They go through this process every time a person's soul reincarnates, hoping that one day they will find the right version of that soul and see their children's wings spread wide.

“A final note: when dragons bonded their souls to humans, there was a very finite number of humans. Not the approximate 9 billion souls that there are today. So souls carrying dragon eggs are scattered far and wide, and maybe 1 in 100,000 people are gifted with an egg.

“It's just part of my belief system anyway,” Kinsgrove concludes.

Dragons from myths and legends exist as often today as in precedent days. They exist as a part of stories passed down from generation to generation, and now they’ve turn into ingrained in popular culture. Try to seek out someone who doesn't know what a dragon is. I bet this task might be almost unattainable.

So that's how dragons exist. Like our family members who’ve passed away, dragons are everlasting so long as there may be one one who can speak the word.

Image Source: Pixabay.com

  • J.W.H

    About John:

    John Williams is a Reincarnationist paranormal Intuitive freelance writer...he is living proof of reincarnation existence, through his personal exploration, he has confirmed its authenticity through visits to the very lands where these events transpired.

    Through guided meditation/s using hemi-sync technology he has managed to recollect 3 previous lives to his own, that go back to the Mid to Late 19th century.

    JWH - "You are the GODS! - Inclusion of the Eternal Light of Love and you shall never die”.

    “Death is Just the Beginning of Life”