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Dragons - Creatures of Power

Part of the Mythic Creatures exhibition.

Dragon model: A 17-foot-long dragon with a wingspan of over 19 feet guards the entrance to the exhibition.
© D. Finnin/AMNH

Of all mythic creatures that rise from the water, prowl across land, or fly through the air, the dragon is the most famed. Stories of serpentlike beasts with fabulous powers inspire awe in almost every part of the world. Rain-bringing dragons in Asian tales can shrink so small that they fit in a teacup--or grow so large that they fill the sky. Dragons in Europe can slaughter people with their putrid breath, or spit fire and set cities ablaze. The earliest dragon legends date back thousands of years, and the creature still haunts our imagination today.