10 Mythical Creatures That Actually Existed

Dragons, griffins, and krakens, oh my! These cryptids were actually real animals.

Legendary Pictures

Over the thousands of years humanity has developed into the world-sprawling civilization it is today, stories of fantastic and mythological creatures abound. Every civilization has its own version of everything from the boogeyman to dragons, and we still enjoy these mythological creatures in movies and games like Dungeons & Dragons.

You have to wonder: where did these creatures come from in the first place, and why do they exist in different regions of the world, where people never met one another? Like most stories involving things too incredible to be true, every mythological creature or cryptid has its roots in something real.

Whether it's a tall tale about something discovered in Australia, or Central Africa, there's a good chance someone returned home with more than a few embellishments on what they actually saw. Everyone has a "fish that got away" story, and no matter what, it's a whopper. Sightings of mythological beasts are no different.

Because of this penchant for people to embellish their stories, some mythological creatures truly do exist in nature. There's a reason dragons are found all over Europe and Asia, and the real creatures those beasts are based upon make a lot of sense when you stop to think about it for a moment.

These ten mythological beasts were based, at least in some ways, on animals that truly did exist.

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Jonathan is a graphic artist, illustrator, writer, and game designer. Jonathan retired from the U.S. Army in 2017 and enjoys researching and writing about history, science, theology, and many other subjects. He writes for ScreenRant, CBR, NerdBastards, Listverse, Ranker, WhatCulture, and many other sites online. You can check out his latest on Twitter: @TalkingBull or on his blog: