- Legendary creature
Some mythical creatures have their origin in traditional mythology and have been belblahieved to be real creatures, for example the dragon, the unicorn, and griffin. Others were based on real encounters, originating in garbled accounts of travelers' tales, such as the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, which supposedly grew tethered to the earth (and was actually a type of fern).
Conversely, some creatures downplayed as just storytelling, have been rediscovered and found to be real in recent times, such as the Giant Squid (the Kraken). In Africa, Natives of the Congo told European visitors of an animal that looked like a cross between a zebra and a giraffe. While the visitors assumed the stories were just folk tales, in 1901, Sir Harry Johnston brought back pelts that proved the creature, which we now call the okapi, was real.
Often mythical creatures are hybrids, a combination of two or more animals. For example, a centaur is a combination of a man and horse, the minotaur of a man and bull, and the mermaid, half woman and half fish. These were not always intended to be understood as literal juxtapositions of parts from disparate species. Lacking a common morphological vocabulary, classical and medieval scholars and travelers would attempt to describe unusual animals by comparing them point-for-point with familiar: the giraffe, for example, was called camelopard, and thought of as a creature half-camel, and half-leopard. The leopard itself was so named as it was historically believed to be a half-lion (Latin: "leo") and half-panther (Latin: "pardus"). This etymology has been kept until the present day, despite its zoological inaccuracies.
In the Jewish culture, people believed in a mythical creature called the Magura-Schendel. This shape shifting monster came out at night to feast on the souls of little, defenseless children. According to legend, the Magura-Schendel lived under the sands of Israel.
Other legendary creatures are thought to exist even today, but evidence is lacking. Famous examples are chupacabras, Bigfoot, Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, and even space aliens. These are called cryptids by cryptozoologists.
Many legendary creatures appear prominently in fantasy fiction. These creatures are often claimed to have supernatural powers or knowledge or to guard some object of great value, which becomes critical to the plot of the story in which it is found. Dragons, for instance, are commonly depicted as perched on a gleaming hoard of gold which becomes the target of adventurers.
- An Instinct for Dragons (book), a hypothesis on the origin of several legendary creatures
- Animalia Paradoxa
- Book of Imaginary Beings
- Fearsome critters
- List of cryptids
- List of legendary creatures
- List of legendary creatures by type
- List of legendary creatures from Japan
- List of legendary creatures from the Argentine Northwest region
- Lists of fictional species
- Mystery Creatures: Mythical or Real - slideshow by Mermaid Melissa
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legendary creature — noun a monster that is unverifiable but popularly accepted as possibly factual • Hypernyms: ↑mythical monster, ↑mythical creature • Hyponyms: ↑abominable snowman, ↑yeti, ↑doppelganger, ↑sea serpent … Useful english dictionary
Salamander (legendary creature) — This article is about the legendary creature; for the amphibian, see Salamander. The salamander is an amphibian of the order Urodela. As with many real creatures, pre modern authors often ascribed fantastic qualities to it (compare the… … Wikipedia
Mandi (legendary creature) — The Mandi in Medieval bestiaries were a race of short lived people. According to Pliny the Elder they had a lifespan of forty years, and reached maturity at seven years. See also Calingi References ^ Mandi . Theoi Greek Mythology.… … Wikipedia
Salamander (legendary creature) in popular culture — References to the legendary salamander in popular culture in fiction (especially fantasy fiction), role playing and video games, animation, and so on can be categorized in three ways: as a fantastic (sometimes magical) beast with an affinity with … Wikipedia
Panther (legendary creature) — A Panther is a creature out of ancient myth that resembles a big cat with a multicoloured hide. Under medieval belief after feasting the panther will sleep in a cave for a total of three days. After this period ends, the panther roars, in the… … Wikipedia
Alan (legendary creature) — Infobox Philippine mythology title = Alan description = Deformed spirits gender = Male/female region = Tinguian equivalent = The Alan are deformed spirits from the folklore of the Tinguian tribe of the Philippines. They have wings, and their… … Wikipedia
Hydros (legendary creature) — Hydros is a venomous snake from Medieval bestiaries. Their poison was said to cause the victim to swell up, and could only be cured with ox dung.External links* [http://bestiary.ca/beasts/beast1933.htm Medieval Bestiary: Hydros] … Wikipedia
Hydrus (legendary creature) — Hydrus is a snake from Medieval bestiaries. They were said to be found in the Nile River, where they would swim into crocodiles mouths and eat their way out of the crocodiles sides, killing them.External links* [http://bestiary.ca/beasts/beast272 … Wikipedia
Pard (legendary creature) — Pard is an animal from Medieval bestiaries. They were said to be felines with spotted coats, and were extremely fast (reminiscent of a cheetah). They were believed to mate with lions to produce leopards.External links*… … Wikipedia
Seps (legendary creature) — Seps is a snake from Medieval bestiaries. They were said to have extremely corrosive venom that liquified their prey.External links* [http://bestiary.ca/beasts/beast270.htm Medieval Bestiary: Seps] … Wikipedia