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Re: Dinos and Mythology

 The other problem is that, amoung the Germans, dragons are often
 called 'worms'. Now, is that because a snake was wormlike, or was
 the reference entirely different?

The former. The word (Old English wyrm, Old Norse orm) simply didn't have the modern meaning of "worm", it meant "elongate and/or loathsome animal" and thus covered snakes and dragons. Beowulf fought against a "wyrm", didn't he?

Compare "fish" as in "starfish" and "jellyfish". And then gaze in wonderment upon the sign in the Georgia Aquarium that says eels aren't fish. <headdesk>

 Another attractive, though implausible perhaps, source for dragon
 myths is that our really primitive ancestors, living in the trees,
 were keyed up to detect predatory arboreal serpents, and so we have
 some sort of 'paranoia' about this surviving in us today (like I
 said, maybe its an attractive idea, but its a pretty weak one. Better
 than Scientology though!)

The fact that some snakes are venomous is easily enough to explain that, I'd say. Also keep in mind that the Western level of dislike of snakes has religious reasons that don't apply in many other places.

 On Sat, Oct 22, 2011 at 8:54 AM, Trish A. <babbletrish@gmail.com>
> [...]
> There is, however, one dragon statue whose face is based directly
> on that of a rhinoceros skull found nearby, and sadly, I cannot
> look up where it can be found as I gave away the book about it.
> (facepalm)

As recently mentioned, that's the dragon statue in Klagenfurt in Carinthia (southern Austria).