Ok here comes a really long post:
I think dragons did/do exist. However they could exist in countless different ways. But I think that most likely the dragon was either a large reptile, or a large bird. Maybe even a cross-breed between them, if that is even possible. But hey, they both lay eggs!
European dragons are vividly described as huge lizards that fly and breath fire. Eastern dragons are described as long serpentine beasts with manes and no limbs, but that can still fly. In north america, there was said to be a huge flying "bird" that made thunderous sounds. In south america they had huge flying "beasts" that glowed, and they also had quetzoquatles, which were serpentine with no legs but they had birdlike wings.
Theory 1) So all of them fly. Thats one thing they have in common. They are also always described as very large. So all in all I would say that we have a very large serpent-bird thing. (Almost all of them have feathers somewhere on them in the description) Maybe they were some kind of cousin to the archeopteryx, a dinosaur that is in the process of evolving into a bird, that can fly, but still is partly covered in scales and is very large.
Theory 2) it could be a kind of huge bat that was hunted to extinction. Maybe its bones and skin were useful in medicine or something, so no remains were left.
Theory 3) dragons might be just huge flying reptiles that breath fire, just like the stories say, and have retreated undergroud or underwater due to human enroachment.
Theory 4) Dragons might not fly after all. They could be a kind of huge lizard, like a komodo dragon, with a brightly colored tongue like a skink, which could lead to the belief that they breathed fire. A creature like a komodo, but possibly larger, would be hugely terrifying to mideival peasants, and they would have certainly called in knights like saint George to fight them.
Theory 5) Dragons might be huge snakes, like anacondas, maybe even bigger. A snake thats 5 feet thick at thickest, and 50 feet long? Plus they are predatory and would enjoy munching of serfs and livestock. And like I said for theory 4, a bright colored tongue would still be a possibility.
Theory 6) Perhaps someone hated a lord or something, so they travelled to their kingdom and began speading stories of a huge scaly beast that could breath fire and had a taste for human flesh. Then they let loose a nile crocodile into a village, and everyone is terrified. The crocodile eats as much as he can, and the remaining villagers flee and tell the story. So they go from village to village letting the croc eat villagers, and slowly move towards the lords castle. The lord sents a few knights to dispatch the "dragon" , but the people who hate the lord kill the knights and destroy another village. The lord sends more knights, same thing happens, until the lord sends out all of his knights to dispatch the beast. Now he is unpotected, the men sneak into his castle, and assasinate him. But after that, the story spreads of how the "dragon" destroyed the kingdom, and is branded into peoples hearts by fear. In this case, dragons would actually be crocodiles.
Theory 7) Dragons could be dinosaur- like sea creatures. Some very strange creatures similar to dragon descriptions have been found.
Theory 8 ) Dragons may have been a type of dinosaur, but still a dragon, that died out with the rest of the species.
Theory 9) Dragons could be eagles.
Theory 10) Maybe dinosaurs are related to pterradactyles , but some lived on into midieval times. (Note: rumor has it that people have actually very recently seen pterasaurs alive and well living in remote areas of new guinea.)
I have many, many, more theories about dragons, but the point is that every culture in the world cant have a story about dragons without anything to back it at all. And perhaps no one will really ever know if dragons are real or not, but if you believe they are real, I think they are. And even if they are not real, they will forever be real in the hearts and minds ir countless people.
theboywarrior wrote:...Believe me or not, but I have actually seen dragon tracks myself.
I have seen dragon tracks as well, and I have seen bigfoot tracks.