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There be dragons

Photo of Alvin the bearded dragon

Alvin, a bearded dragon, was our official lucky lizard. He was 8 years old.

This has been a sad week for us at the Museum of the Weird. Our official lucky lizard, Alvin, succumbed to old age and went to wherever it is that good lizards go. You might not think that you would grow affectionate for a lizard, or that you would miss feeding him cockroaches, but you would be mistaken. I will miss everything about him terribly.

So, in tribute to Alvin, we’re going to talk about dragons today.

You might been told that dragons are all made-up stories, but there are some that suggest that it’s not as simple as that. We may not have the exciting, fire-breathing dragons of Harry Potter, but it’s possible, perhaps even probable, that ancients had contact with large lizard creatures that have been distorted by time. This article, on the Forbidden History site, references accounts by such names as Herodotus, Pliny the Elder, and Marco Polo. While it’s easy enough to pass off early writings as possible fiction or exageration, the city of Troy, once believed to be fiction, was discovered thanks, in part, to information provided in the Iliad by Homer. We often think of historical people as being gullible or not observant. It’s true that they did not have some of the references or tools that we have to capture and describe things today. It’s also true that they helped us to develop what we use today. They weren’t fools. So, it’s possible that there is more to these stories than we imagine.

This image from livepterosaur.com shows a sketch of what might be a living dinosaur.

This image from livepterosaur.com shows a sketch of what might be a living dinosaur.

Of course, if it’s living dragons that you are interested in, there are stories of giant flying lizard reported around the world. The Ropen, a flying creature said to resemble a pterosaur, has been reported around Papua, New Guinea. Other reports come from around the United States, including Texas. Other investigators believe that these are not creatures that resemble pterosaurs, but actually dinosaurs that have survived to the modern day. 

While this is a fantastic idea, it would not be the first time that a creature has emerged from the clouds of myth. We’ve done plenty of stories lately about newly discovered species. Is it impossible that these creatures might still exist in some capacity? Time will tell.

Finally, we’ll share one example of a living, flying dragon. He doesn’t breath fire, but this amazing lizard, Draco volans—actually commonly called the “flying dragon”—has folds of skin that open up into wings that carry it away from predators. It’s able to glide the length of a football field and come to a graceful landing at the end. Watch this National Geographic Video.

Regardless of which type of dragon captures your imagination, fantastic, historical, cryptid, or natural, we hope that you will help us all raise a toast to the sweetest dragon we ever knew and wish him wings—and maybe even a little fire-breathing—as he travels beyond our reach.

Rest in peace, Alvin.

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