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Re: "plumed" serpents

Hitherto I've steered clear of this debate, largely because I don't
much about it, but, as that doesn't seem to be inhibiting anyone else,
here goes.

Does there have to be any *real* model before human beings come up
mythical beasts?  What's wrong with good old imagination, a faculty
our species seems to have had for ever?  Look at how many religions we
invented to explain the world to ourselves.

As for mythical beasts, there are assorted Egyptian deties with animal
heads and human bodies and only cranks of the "ancient astronauts put
here" school seriously propose that they represent anything other than
human imagination (or applying perceived animal characteristics to
gods).  What sort of fossil would have given the Greeks the notion of
Pegasus?  Or the Centaur?  Or the Chimaera?  What gave rise to the
multi-armed goddess of the Hindus?  Australian Aboriginal myths have
sorts of natural features associated with animals, as do, I suppose,
myths of all tribal societies.  Of course, some of them may well have
arisen from real events, suitably embellished to make their messages
memorable, but our imagination is surely responsible for most myths
mythical beasts.  Why should dragons be any different?

Barry Williams
the Skeptic of Oz