Dragons thrive in gaps between and beyond spatial boundaries. Can science help explain their existence? Did humans’ investigation of natural phenomena create bits and pieces of dragon lore across cultures? The researchers used a transdisciplinary lens to reveal data unique among extant dragon origin explanations, including fossil evidence and descriptions of Carboniferous-Period plants, dragon folklore descriptions and locations and geographic correlations between the fossils and folklore. The hypothesis is that early humans came across these fossils, constructed meaning for them contextualized by current knowledge of the natural world and created or enhanced dragon lore narratives.

This content is only available as a PDF.

Author notes

Together Poli and Stoneman codirect the Dragon Research Collaborative, an evolving body of interdisciplinary scholars.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For a full description of the license, please visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode .