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Dragons – Myth or Real?

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Dragons have long been thought of as creatures of mythology and legends.  We see them in movies and cartoons.  We read about them in stories and legends.  They even appear in artwork with noble knights fighting them and saving the beautiful damsels. 

With all of the stories, legends and paintings of dragons, is it possible that dragons once lived and walked upon the earth with man? 

First we need to be like the Bereans and see if the Bible has anything to say on dragons.

Thou shalt walk upon the lion and asp: the young lion, and the dragon shalt thou tread under feet. Psalm 91:13

The wild beasts shall honor me, the dragons and the ostriches, because I gave water in the desert, and floods in the wilderness to give drink to my people, even to mine elect. Isaiah 43:20

Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel gall of asps. Deuteronomy 32:33

In that day the Lord with his sore and great and mighty sword shall visit Leviathan, that piercing serpent, even Leviathan, that crooked serpent, and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.  Isaiah 27:1

In all 4 of these Bible verses, the use of the word dragon is coupled with other real animals in a way that illustrates that the authors knew of these creatures to be real and living.  Some Bibles translate the word dragon as serpent.  This may be partially due to the fact that the word dragon is also used to refer to Satan also known as the serpent in the Garden of Eden and it may also be translated as serpent because the translators did not believe dragons were real or that they lived at the same time as humans.

Dragon legends can be found from all over the world and from as far back as written history.  Many of the descriptions of dragons also fit those of various dinosaurs.

In the Sumerian story of Gilgamesh dating back to around 3000 B.C., we read about the time that Gilgamesh went into a remote forest to cut down cedar trees.  He encountered a vicious dragon.  He killed the dragon and cut off its head as a trophy. 

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, a book written around 1000 A.D. describes numerous encounters between people and dragons. 

One of England’s early heroes is a knight known as St. George.  According to legend, he slew a dragon that lived in a cave. 

Another story from the tenth century was written by an Irishman who encountered a dragon.  The description of the dragon is very similar to a Stegosaurus.

An Italian doctor and naturalist, Ulysses Aldrovandrus, wrote a scientific book titled Historia Animalium or the History of Animals.  In this book Aldrovandrus describes many animals that he had observed in the wilds.  In one account, he also wrote about an encounter that a peasant had with a small dragon near Bologna, Italy in 1572.  The peasant killed the dragon.  This dragon’s description matches that of a Tanystropheus dinosaur.

China has many dragon legends and artwork.  There are even accounts of dragons that were raised and trained to pull the carriages of Chinese royalty.

The flag of Wales has a dragon on it that looks a great deal like a dinosaur named Baryonyx.  Take a look at the flag next to a drawing of what Baryonyx looked like.

Baryonyx was re-discovered[*] in 1983 by an amateur fossil hunter by the name of William Walker.  Walker was fossil hunting in a clay pit in Sussex, England where he found a large curved claw that measured 12 inches.  In 1986, a couple of paleontologists from the Natural History Museum in London, identified Walker’s fossil as belonging to a previously unknown species of dinosaur.  They named it Baryonyx walkeriBaryonyx meaning “heavy claw” and walkeri after its discoverer.   

Baryonyx measured about 34 feet long and stood 10 to 13 high.  It is estimated that it weighed about 2 tons (4000 pounds).  From the shape and structure of the front and back legs, scientists believe that Baryonyx could have walked on all 4 feet or somewhat upright on 2 feet.

After the discovery of the claw, a team of paleontologists from the Natural History Museum in London spent 3 weeks carefully excavating the fossil.  Some of the bones were in loose in the clay, but the majority of the skeleton was found in hard blocks of iron-impregnated siltstone.  Before the bones were removed, the entire dig site was mapped out in great detail.  Then the rock slabs and loose bones were wrapped and shipped back to the museum where the scientists used tools such as a shot-blaster, power chisel and diamond-bladed saws, to cut and remove the excess rock from around the bones. As the bones were exposed, they were covered with a protective coating of resin to prevent any damage to them.  To remove the rock that was touching the fossil bones, the scientists worked under a microscope, using fine tools.  This was tedious work, but very important to reveal all of the bones without damaging them.

Before the skeleton was assembled, the scientists began to make casts of the bones they did have and models of those there were missing from the skeleton.  The casts of the bones were made by making a silicone rubber mold of the bone.  Then they would use a resin that was the same color as the bones and fiberglass to make an exact replica of the real fossil bone.  These replicas are so precise that scientists use them to study the structure of the bones without putting the real bones in any danger of getting permanently damaged. 

The Baryonyx skeleton was only about 60% complete so they had to assemble the skeleton using 40% fabricated or molded bones.  Since the huge claw was not found attached to the skeleton, the scientists reconstructing the skeleton were unsure if it went on the front or hind feet.  It is generally thought that it must have been carried on the front foot since it would have been awkward for the dinosaur to have wielded it from a hindlimb.  Additionally, the bones from the frontlimbs were unusually think and powerfully built and would have easily wielded such a large claw. 

Another unique feature of Baryonyx is its skull.  The skull is long and narrow and the jaw has a wavy-shaped curve that resembles that of some modern crocodiles.  It has a large number of small pointed teeth, nearly twice as many as most other dinosaurs considered meat-eaters.  The skull also had a shallow nasal crest on the top.

With its unusual jaw and a neck that was not as flexible as most other theropods, and the huge claw, Baryonyx has proved to be somewhat of a mystery.  They believe that Baryonyx was a fish-eating dinosaur due to the large number of sharp pointed teeth, and that it would use its huge claw to hook and snag fish from a river or shallow waters, much like a grizzly bear does.  When paleontologists found fish scales and fish teeth in the region where Baryonyx’s stomach would be, it further supported the idea of it being a fish-eater. 

If you ever get the chance to visit the Natural History Museum in London, England, make sure you stop and see the fossil skeleton of Baryonyx on display there.  One can easily understand how people could embellish the features of a dinosaur like Baryonyx over the years that result in some of the dragon pictures and sculptures that were made years ago.  As you look at it, remember that you may be looking at the skeleton of one of the dragons from English history and legend such as the one that Sir George the Dragon Slayer slew.  It could also be one of the dragons spoken of in the Bible. 

Based on Scripture, fossil evidence and all of the written records and artwork from the past 5000 years, there is a great deal of evidence that says that dragons were real animals and not a myth.  Furthermore, a number of the descriptions of dragons match those of various dinosaurs.


[*] I say re-discovered because dinosaurs were created on the same day as Adam and Eve, were on the Ark with Noah and his family, came off the Ark, and lived for a number of centuries before dying off.  Therefore dinosaurs are actually being re-discovered since they were previously known to man.

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  • Looking for truth

    So , if dinosaurs have been extinct for 70 million years and man only evolved 2and a half million years ago how in the world could they have possibly shared the same earth at the same time? AS always God and his word are right and the world, along with their evolution scientists, are wrong!

  • Bill Mullins

    Give me a break. To begin with, newer translations do not have the word “dragon” in them. Since the scholars who translated the Greek NT didn’t even know what the language was (other than a form of Greek. They thought it was a special sort of “Holy Spirit” Greek as opposed to the common tongue it truly was) they could easily have made mistakes.

    Second off, to say that the creature on the flag of Wales resembles the creature known as Baryonyx is preposterous. One is a definite quadruped – WITH WINGS yet making it more correctly a hexapod – while the other is a biped. You are committing the exact same error Haeckel did when he drew up his famous (and now totally discredited) drawings to demonstrate the “phylogeny recapitulates ontogeny” theory.

    You people are WORSE than the evolutionists. You work so very hard to support the young earth view that you make such preposterous statements that you actually discredit your position.

    Look. I have no doubt that what I observe around me is the result of deliberate action by an intelligent being. But I also know a man whose word I trust IMPLICITLY who once told me he had counted over a quarter million layers of ice in the arctic. That in itself blows away Bishop Usher’s dating.

    Some of your articles are truly interesting. But when you go to such convoluted, absurd lengths to prove that we live on a young earth you look like idiots. Has anyone there ever heard of the “parsimony principle”? Why are you so very wedded to Bishop Usher’s creation date?

    I have no problem with “catastrophism” or “punctuated equalibrium”. Nor am I tied to an under-100,000-year-old earth. I personally have a problem with stars being the supposed age of the universe away from us. If they were 14 billion light years away and the UNIVERSE is only 15 billion years old, how did they get that far away from us so quickly? Maybe the universe is MANY TIMES older than current science says it is.

    What does it matter? The irreducible complexity of biological systems precludes any sort of evolution at the cellular level and the organism level as well. Basic biology is entirely too complex to have happened by chance. The more we learn about organisms at all levels reveals more of the ability of the Consummate Engineer who designed it all.

    It is discussions such as this that makes all who see the work of a Creator look like rubes and hicks and uneducated ignorami.

    • http://creationrevolution.com Jon

      Bill, the distance of stars is only a problem for young earthers IF the speed of light is the same everywhere, and under all conditions.

      If space is in tension, as physicists believe it is, the speed of photons further out increases exponentially with the tension of the fabric of space itself.

      We are in a sort of general central area in which the speed of light is what it is due to the “slack” in the time space continuum, as opposed to the outer reaches of the universe where it is more “taught.”

      Have you heard this proposal yet? I call it the trampoline theory since that metaphor contrasts the tension at the outer edges of a trampoline with the more easily stretched center.

      Waves flow faster when the medium through which they travel is more tense. This is very likely to be what is found “out there.”

      Just wondering if you have heard this one.

      It certainly puts a young universe, due to variable speeds of light, back into the ballpark of possibility.

      Did you hear about that young physicist who recently published a paper in which he challenged the force due to gravity as a misunderstanding of actual tension in the space between objects instead?

      Intriguing I must say.

  • http://www.emmanuel-florence.org Dr. Dan

    Thanks for the great article. I always enjoy reading about dragons and the theories that surround their existence. it is a shame there is no more documented history on them, but the revealing truth is the Scriptures give us PLENTY of information concerning their existence. Wonderful read! Thanks again.

  • Tony

    Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!! You’re sticking with the dragon/dinosaur thing hey?

    Bill is right, you people are really going out of your way to diminish what little credibility creation science might have.

  • http://LnL-E-Action.com Jay Talsma

    I liked this article and I think it is right on! It reaffirmed to me what I already know from reading the Bible every day. The bible not only mentions dragons but also that at least one kind was fire-breathing. I had not realized this before years of reading scripture. (KJV mostly)

    Through fossil evidence of various dinousaurs, folklore such as the Japanese ancient obsession with a fire-breathing creature named Godzilla, and finally faith in the inerrency of the bible as being God-breathed, it makes perfectly sensible to realize that man and dinousaurs and/or dragons lived at the same time in our young earth past. No need to over intelectualize only to know that all of God’s creation/works and His written and living Word are incredibly awesome.

  • Doc Franklin

    Once again, I think the critics, in their lust for blood have overstated what this article is proposing. That simply being, that due to the voluminous amount of historical references to dragons from many disparate sources, one most consider the real possibility that such things really did exist and walk the earth commensurate with human beings. There is no dearth of paleontological evidence to support this either such as human and dinosaur tracks in the very same layer of sedimentary rocks. Just because this has not been reported in the mainstream scientific journals does not make it false anymore than printing something speaks to its veracity.
    As far as the layers in arctic and antarctic ice cores, one can find hundreds if not thousands of obvious layers in ice accumulating from a single snow storm, let alone from a single winter.
    If one manipulates Einsteins equation, it is quite easy to show that the speed of light approached infinity at the moment of creation immediately prior to the conversion of pure energy to mass. Even the “Big Bangers” subscribe to a period of “inflation” where the “embryonic universe” expanded faster than the speed of light. This would allow the light to have always been visible from structures billions of light years away, from the very moment of creation.

    • Tony

      hey Doc I was reading “Jack and the Beanstalk” to my children the other day. It dawns on me now that there are lots of stories of Giants in folklore too.

      Are we to conclude that because giants have been imagined independently in many places that giants co existed with humans too?

      Does that prove the story of David and Golliath?

      • Mechmorph

        Hey Tony, have you looked at the NBA lately? According to Guinness Book of Records, Robert Pershing Wadlow topped out at 8 ft 11 inches. There have occasionally been skeletons found approaching 10 ft tall. The Nubian pharaohs were of Sudanese decent and known as giants. In parts of Africa, there are tribes where an “average” person is 6.5 feet tall. I myself am almost 7 ft. So yes, little man, giants existed and continue to exist. Closed-minded people like you are adherents to what I call the “everyone was drunk” theory of history. You make an implicit assumption that ancient people were stupid, hallucinatory or crazy and incapable of accurately reporting on the world around them. The vast number of historical references to dragons, including the Behemoth and Leviathan in the Bible, indicate there were real creatures existing alongside men who were called dragons by the people of those times. Whether they were true dinosaurs could be argued, but your own evolutionary theories say that similar characteristics can be developed by vastly disparate species in similar environmental circumstances, so to conclude that there were at least dinosaur-like creatures called dragons by the people who knew them is perfectly sensible. Even today, we have examples of extremely large reptiles, from crocodiles to Komodo dragons to Anacondas. There is also a type of fish that matches perfectly some Chinese descriptions of water-dwelling dragons. To take another “prehistoric” example of an extinct creature, some species of mammoths existed as recently as 1500 B.C., well within the span of human records. Up until around the time of Christ, lions existed throughout Europe, where they no longer can be found. You shouldn’t be so closed-minded.

        • Tony

          So what you’re saying is Goliath wasn’t so much a Giant as a very tall man.

          Are there any other parts of the Bible that you think might have been exaggerated to improve the telling?
          - Global flood?
          - Virgin birth?
          - Rising from the dead?

          Just wondering.

          • Doc Franklin

            Are there any parts of Darwinism that have been exaggerated to improve the telling? Haeckel’s embryos, punctuated equilibrium, panspermia, the entire fabricated history of the “evolution” of man, archeopteryx, etc? Just wondering?

          • Tony

            The reason there is no scientific equivalent of Apologetics is because science doesn’t need it.

            Science doesn’t take a position and then defend it militantly. When new, better and more information is available that changes what was believed to be true it is written about, reviewed, debated and if it stands up, accepted.

            Despite frequent attempts by this site to illustrate the flaws of science because a theory has changed, this is in act its greatest strength.

            I have no doubt that much of what science tells us today will turn out to be wrong, in part or in some cases in whole. But I still find it easier to put faith in science than in the literal interpretation of the Bible.

            Why?

            Apologetics proves that the Bible is a flawed, unusable document. That so many people have to spend so much time finding ways to defend Biblical “truth” shows just how frail and flimsy this truth is.

            That you have to clutch at straws like Dragons are Dinosaurs is laughable.

            To your point Doc, is evolution exaggerated? I don’t know. Probably in part, maybe in whole. But I know the Bible is, so I can safely assume that whatever it says about God is most certainly what God is not.

        • Bill Mullins

          “Giants” do not bother me. Yes, there are tall – even VERY tall – people around. But giants as in “Jack and the Beanstalk” are impossible. Not even GOD can make a man 60 feet tall without breaking His own laws of physics. Even Goliath is likely to have been somewhat sickly and likely would not have lived a very long life. You cannot push a design that far from the norms without serious consequences to the organism. Neither Great Danes nor Chihuahuas live as long as medium sized mutts. Again – pushing the design.

          My original comment was about stretching credulity by find similarities where none exist. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on the “Young Earth” bit. I trust John Clayton. I personally have no problem with an old earth. Besides, I get different numbers than Bishop Usher when I run the numbers myself.

  • Greg

    I agree with Bill about you guys grasping at straws to protect your cherished, pendantic, and dogmatic adherence to a six thousand year old creation. For some reason young earthers think that the discrediting of six literal day creation discredits Gods existence! It is right in the first few scriptures of genisis. Read it. Much happened before the “first day”. God did not go into great detail about how he did it, he basically said, “I did it”! That is all you need to know. That can be accepted and understood by the primitive mind, the illeterate mind, the intellectual mind and the modern mind. It is sufficient for all people for all times.

    As for dragons and dinasaurs. Dragon lore exists in many places of the world. Interestingly, more often where dinosaur fossils are found. Ancient man found these fossils as we do today and for lack of any explaination….dragons. The lore mixes up from there. Just as the ancient greeks found the mamal fossils at the “valley of blood”! Because the soil was red and great bones where strewn helter skelter they concluded that some epic battle had occured there and that the bones where those of the titans and all the other figures of greek mythology. A mamoth skull with is great nasal cavity became Cyclops etc.
    We find the remains of the mamals in association with human habitations. We find them with stone points imbeded in them. We find bones used as shelters. We find no dinosaur or dragon bones, teeth, and all the other trophies man drags back to camp. We find mamal bones with serations and striations proving someone was scaping the meat. We do not find dino bones that way unless it was done by large teeth. In closing, the man/dino tracks on the Puluxy river in Texas was shown to be a hoax perpertrated by a creative individual as a source of income during the great depression.

    • Bill

      Am I the only one who finds it funny that Greg spelled “illiterate” wrong?

  • Henri CJ

    To all those that do not agree with the story the Bible told us the way that really happened, I feel sorry for you and may God have mercy on you

    • Tony

      Save your pity sir. I’ve made an informed choice. In the incredibly unlikely situation that I am wrong, I will take my eternal suffering like a man.

  • Joseph

    Great article! I fully agree & this article only scratches the surface of the enormous evidence in history of dragons and dinosaurs existing with man. By the way Mullins, the Scriptures in the article are from the HEBREW text, not the Greek. All Scriptures in referrence to dragons is from the Hebrew! Newer translations are irrelevant & only made more simpler for this generation to understand. Last, the “parsimony principle” is only a theory & not proven fact. The Bible is the truth & Word of God!

    • Bill Mullins

      Joseph, I did not say that the quoted scriptures were from Greek. I just said that the scholars who translated the KJV had known holes in their scholarship.

      The “parsimony principle” is not a theory. Do you even know what it is? It is also known as “Occam’s Razor” (although William of Occam did not originate it) and was originally a tool for hermeneutics. A lot of people call the same logical tool the “KISS” (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle. A somewhat full statement of it might be “Do not unnecessarily multiply complexities”. In simple terms, if you have two interpretations or explanations, the simpler one is usually the correct one. If the evidence requires a complex explanation, by all means take it.

      For the record, I have never said that the Bible is anything but the Inerrant Word of God. I just do not believe that one must accept “young earth” to believe in the accuracy of the Bible. It was never meant to be a science textbook. And I am sufficiently knowledgable about the world around me to know that there are things even GOD cannot tell us. the limitation is not in Him but in us. Consider His question to Job, “Where were you when I made the world?”. Either that was a massive cop-out or God was asking a pre-kindergarten level question to establish Job’s understanding of the physical and spiritual universe. Job’s questions seemed simple enough but not even GOD could answer them in any meaningful way. Heck! My wife asks me questions about computers all the time that seem simple but for which she just does not understand enough to allow me to give her a meaningful and non-trite answer.

      • Doc Franklin

        Your reliance on the parsimony principle should lead you to consider the old earth theory of gradualism vs the potentially younger earth theory of catastrophism. The economy of thought and conservation of events (all else being equal) would lead one to consider catastrophism as the more likely model. Gradualism is rather Rube Goldbergian, catastrophism is much more parsimonious. I believe it is rational to entertain the possibility of a young earth, however, I must admit that an ancient earth gives me more solace in that it expands the definition of eternity relative to the existence of God.

  • Liz

    Well, it’w obvious to me that the ancient Chinese, Japanese, Italians, Irish, English, Greeks, biblical writers and other ancient storytellers all got together thousands of years ago and dreamed up all these similar creature legends just to fool all of us right here in the 21st century. They all dreamed up the same creatures, on purpose, just to fool us. Yeah, that’s what happened.

  • Doc Franklin

    Tony, no offense, but your comment about science doesn’t take a position and defend it militantly is beyond fantasy. Global Warming, The French Academy of Science and Pasteur, the defenders of Evolutionary Theory, just to wet your appetite. You can’t be serious. I have read numerous books written by evolutionists and read transcripts of their debates with creationists, they are the very definition of dogmatic and militantly so. They defend the greatest fantasy ever to emerge from the mind of man, namely: Nothing created itself, became aware of itself and explained itself. All the while defying every physical law known to itself. Now that’s “Science” you can believe in!

    • Tony

      Scientists defend their beliefs with great zeal. Science – the body of evidence-based knowledge of the universe – is a moving, growing, constantly improving thing.

      Our knowledge of things is far from perfect, and only the delusion claim to have complete knowledge of what is, and how it came about.

      Apologetics is the militant defense of a set of myths, legends and fairy tales. Science is a systematic approach to discovering knowledge that has at its foundation the willing acceptance of doubt, and the willing acknowledgement that all knowledge is subject to change in the face of new evidence.

      I cannot take seriously any belief in God which also requires me to believe that He intervenes in the weather to punish people, and will punish for eternity anyone who doesn’t grovel to him in the correct manner.

      • Doc Franklin

        Science when it is Science, and follows the scientific method, going where the evidence leads, is a wonderful endeaver. It is only when it develops an “a priori” mentality that I begin to take issue with it. When it comes to evolution, in my opinion virtually everything connected or related to it begins with a pre-conceived expected outcome. The same is true for global warming. Science as a pure entity, cannot entertain the supernatural or faith as an adequate explanation. It must be consistent and reproducible. Unfortunately evolutionists have faith that what they surmise to be the case is in fact, fact, without once shred of confirmatory evidence. If one takes a hard look at the evidence in the entirety of the life sciences and does not blindly accept that which the evolutionists dogmatically accept on faith, it leads the rational mind to the inescapable conclusion that none of this could have occurred ex nihilo without an uncaused first cause. That then forces one to ponder the question of, is there an intelligent designer, is there a creator and if so what was his purpose or intent in doing so. The journey to answer that question does force one to make decisions on matters of faith, but not blind faith. There is nothing I know of that disproves anything the Bible says about creation and the origin of life on this planet and the origin of man, nothing. Nor is there any archeological find that disproves its accuracy or historicity. When a source turns out to be consistently accurate, although not every single thing in it has been confirmed, you begin to have faith that, that part which has not been proven yet, will also in time, prove to be true. I have no intent or need to militantly defend what I believe and know to be true, because I know it for sound reason. Nor do I have reason to coerce another to accept what I know to be true. As I believe you said before, you have made an informed decision and are comfortable with it. That is all anyone can hope for. As a quick side note, God does not require that you grovel, just that you accept his son for who and what he was and for what he did, it’s that simple. Take Care

  • dragonlord154812wulfgar

    but wat does this hve to do with if dragons are real or not

  • Judith

    I saw a translucent crystalline dragon in 2009, on the Autumn Equinox. I watched it transmute as it descended.
    I watched it for about five minutes, then it disappeared.

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