Dragons and Dinosaurs

  • Added:
    Feb 04, 2013
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Dinosaur Exhibition Beijing
Dinosaur Exhibition Beijing
Photo by IvanWalsh.com

Dragons only exist in fairy tales and myths. But long ago people really believed in them, and they drew pictures of them. Dragons breathe fire and destroy everything in front of them. It is easy to see why the Vikings liked to put the head of a dragon on their boats. There are stories about heroes who go out to fight dragons. In Greek myth Hercules killed a dragon with nine heads. Beowulf, the hero of an old English poem, also fought a dragon.

There are dragons even in Christian tradition. Pictures of St. George always show him on a horse as he kills a dragon. People also listened to stories about dragons in Serbian epic poetry. Dinosaurs belong to a large group of prehistoric reptiles that suddenly disappeared about 65 million years ago, long before there were any people on earth. Nobody really knows why the dinosaurs disappeared.

Many scientists believe that the earth simply became too cold for them. The word “dinosaur” means “terrible lizard”. Some were really giants and terrible, but others were small. The brontosaurus was a giant, more than twenty metres from the end of its nose to the tip of its tail. But it ate only plants. The largest of dinosaurs that ate flesh was the tyrannosaurus, sixteen metres from nose to tail. It had claws on its front feet that it used to kill other animals. Most of our information about dinosaurs comes from their bones and tracks.

Natural history museums all over the world have huge skeletons of dinosaurs. Some also have fossil tracks, for example, when a dinosaur left tracks in soft mud that eventually became rock. There are many stories and films about dinosaurs. We often see them in cartoons for children. Maybe dinosaurs are taking the place of dragons since we no longer believe in terrible fairy-tale creatures. And dinosaurs really did exist millions of years ago!      






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