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Re: Dragons

Long ago when I was a medieval history/literature minor,  I read all the
accounts of dragon-slaying and troll-slaying I could get my hands on,  and
noticed that the wings and fire-breathing generally were later
embellishments:  that the earliest accounts from each culture seemed to
describe actual encounters with actual animals,  of unknown species (much as
St. Brendan's account of his voyages makes walruses,  whales,  etc.,  into
seemingly fictitious and highly fanciful creatures.)  I theorized then that
the origins of the stories may have involved modern humans systematically
exterminating a few surviving Neanderthals and perhaps some remnant dinosaur
or pleisiosaur species.  20-25 years and a long career in ecological
journalism later,  which has produced a much better appreciation of the
magnitude of evolutionary change,  I'm more inclined to think these stories
were invented to explain the discovery of dinosaur and perhaps Neanderthal
fossils from time to time.  Does anyone have any relevant thoughts?