New Article: Dragons and Dinosaurs

Fun new article today up about folklore and dragons from Christy Hemphill.

What do you make of all the cultures with dragon stories in their folklore? And of the findings of Adrienne Mayor?

Enjoy: Dragons and Dinosaurs: The Surprising Link Between Folklore and Fossils - Article - BioLogos


Fascinating! Thanks for the article, Christy.

And it would be fascinating to hear what Dr. Mayor may know about how “fire-breathing” mythology also got layered into all our dragon lore history. I know others have speculated on that and perhaps the AIG sites go into ancient or even present real-world lizards that can spew this or that disabling substance which may be described as fire in stories. I don’t feel a need to peruse through creationist sites rehashing that, but I’m still curious enough to wonder if there are insights into that anyone can share here.

And I was negligent in not welcoming you to the forum here, Hillary! Sorry about that - so … welcome! And thanks for calling our attention to the article. Below is a cartoon that I think may fit a bit with the topic at hand.



Thanks for the welcome! Love the cartoon. I’m the new Digital Content Specialist at BioLogos, so I’ll probably be taking over most of the article posting from @jstump!

Ahh! And I probably should have guessed or remembered that. I tend to be forgetful about names, among other things. Thanks for the work you are doing.

No worries, I didn’t introduce myself and I’ve only been here a couple of weeks! :slight_smile:


I remember that Kent Hovind used to make a big deal about bombardier beetles and how they can shoot chemicals out of their rears that can give would-be predators a burn – that combined with the odd cranial shapes of dinosaurs like parasaurolophus gave way to all kinds of speculation about which dinosaurs were the actual fire-breathing ones.

I’m not sure whether AIG goes into that kind of speculative detail, but I know they’ve put forth similar ideas.

I picked up “The Griffin and the Dinosaur” a while back but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I should!

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I’m away from my books at the moment (working on BioLogos Integrate curriculum. It is going to be so awesome, you guys!) If I remember right, that book had something about a fossil bed somewhere in Europe that looked like it was burned. It didn’t say it influenced dragon legends, but if you could look up the name of that place, maybe @Mervin_Bitikofer could go down that rabbit trail and see if it relates to dragon fire.

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A belated welcome. Don’t be a stranger!

Edit: Christy, forgot to say that I enjoyed the article. Never really thought about the origins of dragon tales before. Fun stuff!

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The thing that bothers me most about depictions of dragons is that they have 4 limbs plus bat like wings springing from their backs. How is that anatomically possible, and how could a body plan like that evolve? Same goes for angels, ironically.


Viral vectors with praying mantis genes for an extra 2 legs. …maybe aliens. :wink:

I have seen it suggested that the nostrils in the upper chamber atop of the skull of a brachiosaurus may have been such a chamber for such “fire breathing“ chemicals.

I hardly embrace that at face value, and I am a not little bit skeptical, but neither would a rule it out categorically, either. It would be an interesting hypothesis to explore.

Now you’re expressing skepticism about the all-powerful and limitless creative power of unguided evolution to achieve the most extraordinary and unexpected technological marvels and wonders in biological body plans?



It has surprised me for a long time that stories of dragons are evidence of a young earth. How would we know about dinosaurs at all? Well, fossils, obviously. And a fossil was never seen before the 19th century?

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Well, there’d be no point in going by fossils when you are living with the real thing. The same bent of YEC that taught me fire-breathing dinosaurs were real also taught that dinosaurs are still living among us even today (Loch Ness Monster, Mokele-mbembe, etc.), and so they would have presumably been even more obvious in centuries past.

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I honestly don’t know how your faith (and those like you) survived a YEC church upbringing. Even when I was 8 years old, I had a hard time with Noah and the Ark. I can’t imagine a teen-aged “me” not laughing out loud if I heard such silliness about dinosaurs taught in church.

(Hard to believe, I know, but I’ve mellowed out since high school.)

That’s a bit of a scary thought. :wink: But anyway, I can’t speak for others, but in my case homeschooling probably had a lot to do with it, because everything seemed to fit into a pretty cohesive narrative. There really weren’t too many actual challenges to my worldview except hypothetical ones, and I was well schooled in “resisting” the few that appeared.

Though ultimately it was the grace of God – the same grace that can rescue someone drowning in the overt consequences of bad decisions can rescue someone who is thoroughly convinced of their own rightness in all things.


Thank you! I’ll be around!

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Speaking of dragons story origins, it makes me wonder when I read the somewhat odd verse in Psalm 74:
13You divided the sea by Your strength;
You smashed the heads of the dragons of the sea;
14You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
You fed him to the creatures of the desert.

When combined with the presence of many whale fossils in Egypt’s Valley of the whales, as to whether the psalmist was inspired by stories of those bones in the desert.

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