An Instinct for Dragons

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Routledge Chapman & Hall, 2000 - Social Science - 188 pages
1 Review
From J.R.R. Tolkien's treasure-hoarding Smaug to the bright red beasts of the Chinese New Year's celebration, this magnificent, fire-breathing creature is ingrained in our culture. But where did the dragon originate? And how is it that people from Africa to China to America picture it the same?
An Instinct for Dragons is anthropologist David E Jones's account of his search for the mysterious birth of this ubiquitous monster. In a vast synthesis of art, mythology, history, and anthropology, Jones finds that the dragon is in fact a universal image. Not only does every culture in the world have a name for it -- smok in Polish, tatsu in Japanese, unktena in Cherokee -- but dragons everywhere share many of the same characteristics: multiple heads, talon-like claws, blazing breath.
Jones spans dragon lore from the Loch Ness monster to the Internet, as well as dragon inscriptions on cave walls, cliffs, and pots. His conclusion is stunning: not only is our fear and fascination with dragons a direct result of the predators who threatened our evolution - eagles, leopards, and pythons - but humankind is essentially hardwired to believe in this creature.
Captivating and eloquent, An Instinct for Dragons decodes the ancient puzzle of the oldest and fiercest monster.

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An instinct for dragons

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Jones (anthropology, Univ. of Central Florida) contends that the dragon, a universal image of a creature that does not exist, is a direct result of the evolutionary process. Guided by the tenets of ... Read full review

Review: An Instinct for Dragons

User Review  - John Fredrickson - Goodreads

This was disappointing, but probably because I anticipated a different book than the one the author wrote. This literally explores the instinctual basis for a universal belief in dragon-creatures (pretty much what the title indicated :-) ) Read full review

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About the author (2000)

David E. Jones is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Central Florida. He is the author of such engaging and well-received books as: Sanapia: Comanche Medicine Woman, Visions of Time, and Women Warriors. He lives in Orlando, Florida

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