The Fantastical History of Dragons Can Be Celebrated in Utah
Stories of dragons span time and space. From Europe to the Middle East, and Asian countries, stories of dragons are everywhere.
According to the American Museum of Natural History, “The fossil remains of extinct animals have sometimes been taken for dragon bones.”
Long before paleontology was a scientific field, “People unearthed fossilized bones in Asia and Europe and believed they had found the remains of dragons.” This led early naturalists to treat dragons as if they were part of the natural world.
Pliny the Elder, a Roman scholar and naturalist, wrote, "Dragon’s blood was medicinal and formed when dragons attacked elephants and their blood ran together and congealed.”
According to Google Arts and Culture, the origins of dragons in the Middle East and South Asia are written in ancient sources.
“The Rig Veda (one of the oldest texts in the world, dated to around 1500 BCE) speaks of the great dragon Vrtra, who has to be killed by the god Indra to release the waters of heaven onto earth.” In the Mesopotamian myths, “The god Marduk battled with the dragon Tiamat for supremacy over human beings, and in the Zoroastrian tradition of Iran, dragons were known as serpents and had important roles in scriptures.”
From folklore and scriptures, dragons entered pop culture. In the fantasy genre, dragons are villains, allies, or even symbolic.
Dragons can be seen in the Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, How to Train Your Dragon, Mulan, and much more. Over the centuries dragons have become part of a global conscience.
With that fantastical history, dragons have earned their own day to be celebrated. January 16th is Appreciated Dragon Day and now that you know more about dragons or want to know more, it’s the perfect day to delve into all things dragon-related.
You can celebrate by looking at the fossils that inspired dragons. A few places in Southern Utah to check out include:
Dinosaur Tracks in Parowan: near the Parowan Gap
St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm: 2180 East Riverside Drive
Utah Raptor State Park: just outside Moab
A more complete list is linked here.