Where did they come from? Where did they go? Did they all eventually get slayed into extension? Scientists tell us that man and dinosaurs did not exist at the same time, but many ancient texts beg to differ. As the saying goes, if it looks like a duck (dragon/dinosaur) and quacks like a duck (breathes fire like a dragon/dinosaur) then it must be a duck (dragon/dinosaur)! I would be the first person to admit that an author has the right to a vivid imagination, but why would so many authors from so many different eras and countries come up with basically the same description of dragons?
Although there are many different physical descriptions and reported abilities of dragons based on the different cultures in which they appear, the one thing that remains the same is the creatures being a serpentine or otherwise reptilian monster that often possess magical or spiritual qualities.
How long have humans been documenting dragons? In 217 A.D. Philostratus discussed dragons in India in The Life of Apollonius of Tyana as: “In most respects the tusks resemble the largest swine’s, but they are slighter in build and twisted, and have a point as sharks’ teeth.”
In China the symbol of dragons are particularly revered and the 5-clawed dragon was a symbol of the Chinese emperors. Dragon costumes manipulated by several people can still be seen at Chinese festivals and parades. Bones believed to be dragon bones were used as oracle bone scripts that detailed life during the Shang Dynasty. (1600 BC—1046 BC)
Sailors in the 1400s thought the world was flat and believed that there were giant sea serpents/dragons awaiting them if they got too close to the edge of the world. Maps were even made marking the place where these dragons lived. At the edge of the map the words, "Here Be Dragons" was almost always printed. Christopher Columbus thought differently and proved that the world was not flat, and in the process, did not report seeing any sea dragons. Apparently Columbus and his fleet were lucky in more ways than one. Long before Columbus’s generation, Viking ships were decorated with dragons.
One of the ways a knight achieved knighthood was to slay a dragon. There are many stories of knights, so that must mean there must have been a lot of dragons! So many stories—so many dragons! The Discovery Channel aired a program that puts forth the theory that dragons did exist, “Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real.” They also aired “Dragons—From Myth to Reality,” in 2006. If they believe in dragons, shouldn’t you?