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Did Dragons really exist?

  1. Mar 20, 2005 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    Around about 1980, Omni magazine published an article in which the author argued that dragons really did exist. At the time I was struck by the logic of many points made. The biggest question in my mind is how so many separate cultures produced such detailed and consistent accounts of these thought to be mythical animals.

    Animal planet is now playing a bit with this idea.
    http://animal.discovery.com/convergence/dragons/dragons.html
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2005 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    Referenced on the program to show that biological mechanisms similar to those suggested already exist in nature.

    http://www.wcsscience.com/bombardier/beetle.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2005
  4. Mar 20, 2005 #3
    Where you watching animal planet tonight?
     
  5. Mar 20, 2005 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Yes. In fact the dragon bit is still running.
     
  6. Mar 21, 2005 #5
    I just put it on and captain jean luke paccard is narrating! :rofl: How much of this is just sensantional promotionalism? I'm still looking at the site to see if it has any legitimacy!
     
  7. Mar 21, 2005 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    This is more for fun than fact. But the ideas explored are much like those suggested 25 years ago. It is difficult to imagine how completely separate cultures, who knew nothing of each other, somehow evolved nearly identical myths. Many detailed descriptions of dragons can be found.

    It is interesting to consider and not really so hard to believe. Consider for example that we just discovered the existence of an entire race of so called hobbits that co-existed with modern humans.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2005
  8. Mar 21, 2005 #7
    I have always hoped they would find dragon remains.
     
  9. Mar 21, 2005 #8

    arildno

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    1.Every single human culture knows about worms and serpents (i.e, they exist locally) , and, since a lot of the serpents are dangerous, people will be wary about them, tend to avoid them, or hold them in awe.
    That is, there are plenty of local circumstances which will impart a fear or awe of serpents in the local human population.
    2. Every culture met big creatures in their own neighbourhood (that might be bears, tigers or elephants), and precisely because these creatures are big, people will tend to treat them with some caution or fear.
    3. No human population prior to 20th century were able to master the skies, even though they could "master" the earth, and to some lesser extent, the water.
    Birds have in many cultures been revered/awed, and to some extent been envied due to their ability to fly ("to be as free as a bird" and so on)

    Now, 1,2,3 are all elements which you can find present in just about every culture, and they result from similar experiences in local, natural circumstances.

    Humans are imaginative and inventive, and combine their (local) experiences into insights, tales and myths.
    Is it really too far-fetched that the idea of a whopping big flying serpent (that is, combination of 1+2+3) could evolve in a lot of disparate localities?
    Since serpents, big creatures and birds are all creatures regarded with some degree of awe or reverence, the dragon myth can evoke an extraordinary rich set of connotations and emotions in all cultures.
    That is, the dragon is, and remains great story material; every culture can be seen as simply waiting for the ingenious story-telling individual who manages to conjure forth the dragon before his audience.

    Personally, I LOVE dragons (or at least, the idea of them!) but I find it more interesting to see the local variations of the myths.

    For example, the great slithering Norse serpent (Fafnir or the Midgardswyrm, for example), is quite a different creature from the Anglo-saxon fire-breathing flying lizard, or the extremely elegant and benevolent Chinese variety.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2005
  10. Mar 21, 2005 #9

    Galileo

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    Dragons exist in Indonesia.
    http://komodo.procombel.be/images/dragon.jpg [Broken]

    They don't breath fire or fly, but they're awesome badass motherf***ers.

    Anyhoo, dragons are really cool. Especially the Chinese ones, with long slender bodies and kinda like moustache-tentacles.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  11. Mar 21, 2005 #10

    arildno

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    I know; I just love them (at least, when I can watch them from a safe distance on National Geographic..:biggrin:)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  12. Mar 21, 2005 #11

    matthyaouw

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    Funny you should mention this. I stumbled across this a while ago-

    http://www.creationism.org/topbar/dinosaurs.htm [Broken]

    Enjoy!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  13. Mar 21, 2005 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    Perhaps we might assume that people described what they saw; rather than construct all sorts of convoluted arguments based completely on conjecture. I prefer parsimonious arguments.
     
  14. Mar 22, 2005 #13

    arildno

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    Speaking of what?
    Where is this purely conjectural basis?

    1. Do you seriously suggest that humans don't have an in-built fear of serpents?

    2. Do you say that big creatures have not been treated with respect/awe/caution?

    3. Do you deny that in a wide variety of cultures, flying creatures like birds have not been treated as somehow special, for example as messengers of the Gods?

    4. Do you deny that human story-telling is based on a creative re-weaving of the story-teller's experiences, insights and emotions?

    Where's the convoluted argument here?

    I find my argument on the simplistic side, rather than on the convoluted side.
    Secondly, it is naive, in the sense that it only uses obvious elements which are easily attested to be found in just about every culture.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2005
  15. Mar 22, 2005 #14
    That is a good argument, now can you explain how many different cultures that never interacted came up with the aliens. Even if dragons have never exsisted, we might be able to make them in a mad scientist meets jurrasic park style. Once we can create chromosomes for scratch, and then put them in a embryo and put that in a machine that can act as a womb.

    Alot of the technology we need are not to far in the future. We can work with genes now and who knows what the government can do that they will not tell us. Scientist probally trying to grow clones in 'test tubes'. Who knows what scientist are doing in labs that are top sceret.
     
  16. Mar 22, 2005 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    yes. Show me the proof.

    I don't think this has anything to do with the topic.

    Again, I don't think this has anything to do with the topic without really reaching.

    Do you deny that humans also report what they see?

    Your sugggestions are reasonable but that does not make them true, or even likely. It is just one possible explanation. But it is also naive to explain away anything not understood as fairy tales. This is no different that blaming the plague on evil spirits. What we see is that like our ancestors, we still grasp for familiar and comfortable explanations whenever confronted with a mystery. Also, the credible anomalies thread shows that human testimony is often quite reliable.

    I'm not arguing that dragons existed, I'm arguing that a lot of people say they did and we have no way to know. It is not reasonable to assume without proof that so much of written history is a lie. In fact it is the height of arrogance to do so.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2005
  17. Mar 22, 2005 #16

    arildno

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    So, I assume you think giants/ogres/trolls existed as well, since the legend of these big humanoids have sprung up all over the world?
    Since you, in your role as mentor chooses to give legitimacy to all sorts of non-sensical ideas (like dowsing), I don't think you're fit to be that.

    All you are offering the members of PF is the belief that once upon a time there were lots of huge, batwinged, fire-breathing reptiles swarming in the sky.
    That has nothing to do with being a skeptic or open-minded, it is the attitude of the brainless.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2005
  18. Mar 22, 2005 #17
    I read through that article, and the only thing that comes to my mind is: what??!!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  19. Mar 22, 2005 #18
    I don't believe that Ivan neccisarily believes in all of the things that he posts in regards to here on PF. I think he just finds them fascinating subjects and thinks there may be something to some of them even if they aren't quite true as represented.
    The idea that there may have been something akin to dragons about at one time is not that far fetched. You do believe in dinosaurs right? or do you consider that nonsense as well?
    If you want to bring up openmindedness perhaps you should take a lesson first, or perhaps a lesson in not insulting people should be in order before that.
     
  20. Mar 22, 2005 #19

    Ivan Seeking

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    We just found hobbits and giants. Who's to say what the roots of such legends might be? Is it your position that all discoveries have been made? Should we listen only to your version of what's possible? Should we ignore history just because you say so?

    As for dowsing, I find it interesting that one of the only topics that I have a fairly firm opinion, and you come back time again. I said right away that my opinion was based on personal experience - I have no proof, just the word of a couple of family members who are sure that it works for them. Your attack is dishonest and unrepresentive of what I said.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2005
  21. Mar 23, 2005 #20

    Ivan Seeking

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    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=5196&page=2&pp=15
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2005
  22. Mar 23, 2005 #21
    All cultures speak of magicians/sorcerrers,Gods,etc Do you believe that they too are real.:rofl:
    But maybe they indicate that ancient civillizations were in contact with each other?
     
  23. Mar 23, 2005 #22
    has anyone ever read "Bel and The Dragon"? It's in the Bible ,well, depends on what 'version' you use; wasn't in my KJ,but first found it in my girl friend's 'Catholic Bible'. It's a great little 'book' that tells of a group of priests who designed a 'Dragon' (actually a large statue of) and hoodwinked the locals into bringing their 'offerings'.....quite a scam that the Hebrews 'exposed', sending the con artists running off to parts unknown.

    Understand that the 'locals' actually believed this-a very elaborate 'hoax'-even 'skeptics' were 'fooled' by these 'priests' and came to 'believe' -this is a brilliant and illuminating story.

    Just a thought, but where'd these 'priests' come from and where'd they go-
    could this account for some of these 'stories'?

    (btw remember Moses dealing with the Egyptian 'priests'-they turned their staffs into snakes- You may think this is all hokum rather than 'hocus pocus'--yet the 'prophets' were trained in magic for the purpose of 'exposing' other 'false prophets/magicians--where'd this 'tradition' come from?)

    The human imagination is a Wonder in 'itself'--Alexander's troops would burn 'hemp bushes' in their fires (the mind boggles! think "Peter, Paul and Mary"'s "Puff the Magik....").....there's a history of all sorts of 'herbs and spices and mushrooms mixed with wine' etc. There's allegorical,mythological and visionary 'thinking'-consider Jospeh Campbell's 'Hero with a Thousand Faces'-'stories' from all over the world are certified "human" (even Velikovsky found an astounding number of 'stories' relating to 'the Flood' etc), and what to make of Jung's "archtypes"?

    Some are just born with the 'gift of music', or a 'poetic genius', or math, or become 'simply mad as a hatter' (the chemicals that were used 'in the trade' caused this).

    Around 150 AD a Greek fellow wrote a 'tour guide' of the ancient world, what 'bones' of who you could find at the Temples and other 'places of interest'. Some 'myths' are believed to be found in the bones of mammoths and dinosaurs that were 'revered' and displayed (looks like a 'leg bone' of a giant to me! The Cyclops skull 'for sure'!).

    These 'guys' were not idiots though--and through the ages if they had not 'made mistakes' and someone corrected them--certainly i'd be 'making the same' mistakes/conclusions again. We find brilliant thinking on one hand and perhaps complete absurdity in the next paragraph. What to make of Josephus c100 AD still telling about the Egyptian priests still believing the 'myth of the Phoenix'-they actually see and celebrate this 'event' when it happens....yet we can understand today when he says, 'to this very day one can still see the pillar of salt that was Lot's wife'....(heck, there were 'tour guides' even in the '50's that could show you the 'pillar'--and if you wandered off on your own you might find a number of 'candidates' of equal 'likeness' today-or so i've read)

    And there's a problem of taking things out of context--and then some other reader considers an excert in another light--we might end up with someone thinking Swift's "Modest Proposal" was serious-and dig up his bones and burn 'em in protest.

    I find all of this fascinating--horned toads squirting blood from their eyes (saw it recently on NG, and they looked just like the horned toads i had as 'pets'!)

    Furthermore, it seems to me that 'Comets' were/or may have been referred to as 'Dragons'....


    As i suggested (a bit tongue in cheek) we might be able to 'freak out the Chinese' by a 'Dragon' display with our 'superior technology'....actually i'm afriad 'our magician/spooks' might be able to pull it off on U.S.!

    I have a "Popular Mechaincs" zine from c70 that says we should all be flying around in back-pack helicopter suits by now--no more traffic jams! but that pales to the anti-gravity bleep bleep bleep

    connection breaking up-
    later-i hope!

    Ralph Waldo Emerson:

    The religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide.

    +++++
    i messed up on "Bel and the Dragon" --i combined two events--there actually was a 'living Dragon'! here's the 'story' on-line:

    http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?new=1&word=bel+1&version=nrs

    these 'events' were during the Babylonian captivity (as the Book of Daniel); note that scholars date the Book of Daniel about 250 BC--some 250 years after the events.
    Furthermore, "Daniel" is considered as part of 'The Writings' by the Hebrews, as is the Book of JoB, etc. > the point being, only 'literalists' would take these books 'literally'.....


    *
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2005
  24. Mar 23, 2005 #23

    arildno

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    Why should I disbelieve actual skeletons which has been found?
    But, we have, as far as I know, NO attested findings of dinosaurs prior to the 18th century.
    If the remains of dinosaurs had been crucial in the development of dragon legends, then it is really odd that no such remains have been preserved, or even mentioned in reliable sources.

    I am fully convinced that if a culture with dragon legends happened to find a tooth or thigh-bone of a T-Rex, then those remains would have been regarded as evidence of dragons by that culture.
    Also, I am quite certain that if such a relic were found in a culture without pre-existing dragon legends, that find MIGHT spur the people to develop such ideas.

    However, unless you can point your finger at concrete findings of dinosaur remains in cultures with dragon legends, your theory remains completely conjectural.

    I chose to focus on attested facts in human attitudes&emotions, and tried to tie that, however unsuccessfully, with the evolution of stories about dragons.

    Now, ask yourself the following question:
    Why do monsters (dragons, for example) in tales tend to be huge?
    (If you don't accept that as a fact, how many legends do you know of with butter-fly sized monsters?)

    All I said about that particular facet, is that the sense of fear and awe such a monster often brings into a tale might be seen to stem from the similar sense with which we tend to regard big creatures we meet in real life.

    IvanSeeking thought that was irrelevant in the evolution of dragon legends.
     
  25. Mar 23, 2005 #24

    Kerrie

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    I think you both summed this up quite well. In order to discover, we first need an open mind, not so open that your brains fall out as a former mentor used to say around here :wink:

    It's one thing to be skeptical, but another to take the "there is no proof, thus it doesn't exist" attitude. We just discovered that little people once existed on this planet, a huge discovery for us since we as a society will be so quick to call ourselves "advanced".

    Ivan, thank you for being a pioneer in discussions of these subjects, I know how much flack you receive for it. But if it weren't for those who question beyond our limits, we would still be bounded by them.
     
  26. Mar 23, 2005 #25

    This is all 'interesting'. I especially 'like' the 'idea' of 'dragons'='comets'.

    I would just like to ask the question though, why would dragons breathe fire? Evolutionarily speaking, there doesn't seem to be much reason for them to have it. They were huge predators that had no known enemies. Its like going into the forest and teaching lions how to use machine guns, its pointless.
    Unless it was for inner-species competition.
    Regardless, there haven't been any dragon fossils found yet that are similar to those of myth, have there? I mean, even any that people speculate to be dragons.

    Also remember that whats speculated are quite large animals. You might be able to prove mathematically that they could not have been that large, and flown. Given muscle density, approximate wingspan and muscle thickness, dragon size, and so forth, they might not have been able to sustain flight unless they were a few meters in wingspan max. Muscle strength is proportional to the muscle cross section, while weight is proportional to its volume.
     
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