For a creature that is regarded as being very much a mythical creature by most accepted wisdom it is strange the dragons crop up in a wide number of disparate cultures who had no real links to each other and yet all cast a similar image of the creatures themselves. For a long time I have thought that this could point to the existence of dragons, in some form, during the early years of human kinds experiences.
Whether these creatures were all the size of the giant creatures described in certain northern European legends or the ones of the Far Eastern origin , or in fact if they existed in a variety of sizes (which to me would seem likely) it seems clear to me that such creatures existed at some point.
Now I know that at this point it is worth giving a nod to accepted thinking and say that if they had existed then we would have found archaeological proof that they did.
In a way I agree but then again that argument is slightly flawed. Most fossil evidence belongs to the prehistoric era of the earths existence and there is no reason to think that the "dragons" existed after that period and that their remains (presuming they didn't have some strange instinctive behavior that drove them out to see to die) have been lost to archeology by simply being in places remote enough or inaccessible enough to be dug.
I could go into great detail on why we have not got a bone record of a dragon but that is for another time and place.
What I'd like to talk about is that the fact that there creatures exist in a lot of cultural histories, bearing very similar descriptions and yet entered into "mythology" during the modern age. There can be no doubt that the influence of the monotheistic religions on Western European cultures where the creatures and stories of the prior cultures were discredited and turned into metaphors for other things, after all a creature such as a dragon will have been symbolic to those who knew of them yet do not fit in with monotheistic thinking (although the book of Revelations does make mention of dragons) and would therefore become the thing of imagination and therefore easily discredited and demonized.
There is no doubt that the dragon had massive influence in the "old" world. The Chinese have a year in their calendar dedicated to the Dragon and images of the creature have survived the years and are used across the world. It is a creature of spiritual significance, even to this day, and holds a place in the heart of many a good story teller. It represents the strength of the natural world and a reminder that man is not as all conquering and invincible as he might feel.
Personally, I can see no reason to believe that dragons existed (in many shapes and sizes), we may never have "proof" other than the tales of old.
Here be dragons?